That is the first word that came to mind while listening to Dr. Kase’s testimony describing how Carmen Perez-Dickson, Principal of Tisdale Elementary, allegedly picked up a child like a “Thanksgiving turkey.”
Dr. Sandra Kase, the district’s chief administrative officer, was not an eyewitness to incident, and was only made aware of the alleged incident after two parents had mentioned the existence of security tapes which showed Ms. Dickson dragging children across a hallway.
According to Connecticut State’s Mandatory Reporting Law, people in “professions or occupations that have contact with children” are required by law to report suspected incidents of abuse or neglect. Despite that, security and staff witnesses never filed a complaint with the central office or the Department of Children and Families, which I find very concerning.
According to Dr. Kase, there had been previous complaints against Ms. Dickson made by parents, including the allegation that Dickson was unresponsive when a parent reported an incident of bullying against her son.
Charmaine Worthy, Assistant Principal at Tisdale and current Acting Principal, also testified at Tuesday’s hearing and described Ms. Dickson hitting a baseball bat against a desk to get the attention of a child, who was non-verbal and multi-disabled. According to Worthy, the child batted her eyes and was startled by the bat hitting the desk.
During Dr. Kase’s investigation she interviewed Ms. Dickson and asked her why she had a bat in her office. According to Dr. Kase, Ms. Dickson’s response was for protection from parents.
Equally as unbelievable were board members Bobby Simmons’s and Sauda Baraka’s unrelenting disbelief in the evidence presented.
At one point during the hearing, Bobby Simmons asked if there was testimony “that the child wanted to be dragged,” which would suggest Simmons thinks it’s acceptable to drag a child down a hallway if that child asked to be dragged. That’s like saying if a child asks to be punched in the face, it’s OK because the child gave permission.
No matter what the child said, it’s not OK for school staff to engage in behavior that could cause harm. A principal’s job is to protect the well-being of the students under their guardianship. They’re the adult and should be the ones making the judgment call, not the child.
This ridiculousness came after a second attempt to dismiss the termination hearings. The day before, board members claimed they heard board chairman Rev. Kenneth Moales talking with other board members about Ms. Dickson, and called for the end of the hearings on that basis. Moales, however, had already excused himself from the hearings for similar reasons.
Thus far, Ms. Dickson has made no comments about the allegations; however, according to her lawyer Josephine Miller, she may give testimony at the next session, which is set to take place September 4th at 5:30.