After months of hearings, Jettie S. Tisdale Principal Carmen Perez-Dickson was finally given a chance to tell her side of the story during Friday’s four-hour special board meeting.
Perez-Dickson was put on administrative leave back in 2012 after three tapes surfaced which allegedly show her “manhandling” two kindergarten students at Tisdale.
During Friday’s hearing, Perez-Dickson testified that she believed she acted out of concern for the safety of the children and used the appropriate amount of force when dealing with each situation.
Perez-Dickson described one incident, where she allegedly picked up a child by the arm. According to her account, she was called over by security to deal with the student, who had run out of his classroom. He fell behind her and began thrashing; Perez-Dickson said she lifted him to prevent the student from hitting his head and was “disgusted” by security’s inaction.
This wasn’t the only charge she made against school security. Perez-Dickson complained that security brought problem children to her too often.
Assistant to the Superintendent for Safety, Security, and Climate Mr. Willingham and a Department of Children and Families official also testified during Friday’s hearing.
Most the four hours was spent between the board and the defense asking questions—giving the administration’s attorney little over fifteen minutes to cross-examine Perez-Dickson.
Despite the time constraints, a few interesting facts came out during cross-examination.
Perez-Dickson testified that she was capable of picking up the girl in the second and third videos [same girl], but “slid” her because she thought it was easier. Curiously, when Dr. Kase asked Perez-Dickson about the first video over a year ago, she could not recall much of what happened. Yet, during her testimony she was able to vividly describe what happened before and after the incident.
Over the course of five months, two security guards, the assistant principal of Tisdale [now acting principal], a secretary and teachers have all testified during public hearings, relating stories of alleged negligence, intimidation and abuse.
Friday was the last hearing, and the board has until October 18th, 2013 to come to a decision.
Here are links to the full cross-examination footage: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
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