Hobbs-Everett Says School Bullying, Violence ‘Out of Control’

Power of Self Education (POSE) Co-founder and CEO Katrina Hobbs-Everett during a WHAV Open Mike Show.

Haverhill Superintendent of Schools James F. Scully.

Haverhill Superintendent of Schools James F. Scully.

The leader of a Mount Washington neighborhood group claims school bullying and violence in Haverhill is “out of control” and asks Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent James F. Scully to schedule a so-called “emergency meeting” with parents.

Power of Self Education (POSE) Co-founder and CEO Katrina Hobbs-Everett wrote to Scully Monday, requesting a meeting “to replace the one parents tried to attend last month to address their concerns.” While a parents meeting was held, without Scully in attendance, at City Hall, Sept. 14, including members of Haverhill Hispanic Coalition, Hobbs-Everett alleges parents’ concerns went overlooked and “have now reached a boiling point.” Hobbs did not identify the parents or indicate whether privacy waivers have been sought. State law limits public discussion of specific student issues.

“In-school violence and bullying is out of control this school year, and has been a growing issue for some time now. I have been contacted personally with six incidences of physical violence in just the past two weeks,” Hobbs-Everett wrote in an e-mail copied to the mayor, School Committee and City Council members. “Parents are fed up and outraged by the drugs, violence, and bullying that currency plague our schools, and with the constant overlooking of such issues by yourself and your administration. Our ‘zero tolerance’ policies and anti-bullying policies are not being taken seriously and/or upheld uniformly in every school.”

Hobbs-Everett also claimed Scully, since a February “school to prison pipeline” forum held by POSE, has not responded to requests to review the district’s code of conduct in compliance with state law.

“To date I have not received a response from you or any shred of factual data that provides proof that the Haverhill School District even plans to try to adjust discipline policies to meet Massachusetts state law standards. This year’s handbooks do not appear to meet state standard either, but they are currently being reviewed by lawyers and a follow up will soon be scheduled,” she added.

Hobbs-Everett requested the meeting be held at a time and place that is mutually convenient for parents and “not in neighborhood schools as you suggested in your letter canceling the meeting facilitated by the Haverhill Hispanic Coalition.”

As WHAV reported last month, Scully said he backed out of addressing that conference when he learned the group planned to advocate for fired District Supervisor of English Learner Education Graciela Trilla.

WHAV has reached out to Scully for a response, but he was not immediately available.

17 thoughts on “Hobbs-Everett Says School Bullying, Violence ‘Out of Control’

  1. I find it mighty interesting as a victim of Mrs. Hobbs-Everett’s bullying she is now pushing the “bullying” issue in schools. I feel I received more truth from the comments than the article.

  2. Haverhill’s superintendent was recently on the Point of Reference show with Frank Novak.
    Link here: http://haverhillcommunitytv.org/vid…/october-2016-jim-scully

    Please watch it and compare his verbal report to the state site visit report which you can find here; http://www.mass.gov/…/district-r…/nolevel/haverhill-2015.pdf and to the DESE data which Mr. Scully has stated comes directly from our district.

    Points that Mr. Scully brings up during this interview that are of concern are:
    1) Mr. Scully mentions that graduation rates are up. While this is true based on the 6 year timespan of 2010 till now, he failed to mention that our drop out rates are also up and double the state average.

    *From the report referenced above:
    “In 2014 Haverhill’s drop-out rate for all students, high needs students, and students with disabilities was twice the state rate, and higher than the state rate for low-income students and English language learners”. The chart on page 12 shows the 2014 rate being 5.1 (more then double the state average). According to the DESE website the 2015 numbers reflect an increase, showing 5.9 with trends remaining highest at 9th and 12th grade levels. In those grade levels the highest populations dropping out are youth with disabilities (11.3 and 14.3 respectively). DESE data taken from here: http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/dropout/default.aspx… (this is important because we spend so much on Special Education)

    2) Mr. Scully first states that only ELA went down, then clarifies that only ELL students went down.

    According to this report:
    ELL students were the only demographic that made moderate improvement on ELA metrics for 2015 (p.10 site visit report).

    ◦ELA CPI for all students was 6.4 points lower than the state’s ELA CPI and 2.8 to 8.3 points lower for the subgroups that make up the high needs population.

    ◦Between 2012 and 2015 math CPI for the district as a whole improved but remained below the state by 8.1 points for all students and by 3.1 to 10.0 points for the subgroups that make up the high needs population.
    ▪The CPI for all students dropped from 73.1 in 2014 to 72.6 in 2015

    ◦Between 2012 and 2015 science CPI for the district as a whole improved but remained below that of the state by 8.5 points for all students and by 5.0 to 7.0 points for the subgroups that make up the high needs population.
    ▪The Science CPI also dropped from 74.2 in 2014 to 70.9 in 2015

    ◦The district did not reach its 2015 Composite Performance Index (CPI) targets in ELA, math, and science for all students, high needs students, ELL and former ELL students, and students with disabilities.

    ◦The ONLY population to increase towards the CPI targets for 2015 was the ELL students, who made moderate improvement but remained below the target.

    ◦Students’ growth in ELA was low compared with their academic peers statewide for all students, high needs students, and students with disabilities, and moderate for English language learners. Student’s growth in math was moderate compared with their academic peers statewide for all students, high needs students, and English language learners, and low for students with disabilities.

    More on curriculum from the report:
    “Curriculum and Instruction
    Leadership for English language arts curriculum is currently being assumed by the assistant superintendent. The absence of a dedicated person for this key core curriculum area hampers the district in revising, refining, and maintaining curriculum that is aligned with the 2011 Curriculum Frameworks. Other curriculum supervisors work with teachers and principals across the district to develop plans for improvement. Not having a dedicated ELA supervisor for curriculum limits the time and expertise that could be provided to principals and teachers across the district to improve student achievement in this content area. In addition, there is an inequitable distribution of resources; for example, only 4 of the 10 early elementary and elementary schools have literacy coaches and not all middle schools have science labs. Also, inconsistent time is allotted for science in the elementary schools.

    Observations indicated that while the district has identified Power Elements for Teachers, which calls for appropriate student engagement strategies, implementation of these strategies is stronger at the elementary and middle levels than at the high school. In observed classrooms districtwide, students were not consistently engaged with tasks that require critical thinking, nor were lessons appropriately differentiated to account for diverse learning needs”.

    3) Mr. Scully states that 33% of the new hires were minorities which parallels our student
    demographic. He states “those are things we don’t talk about”.
    If you’ve watched the recent school committee meetings you know, yes he never talked about it even to the school committee. Mr. Scully hired at least 20 new people and pushed the budget up 1.4 million dollars.
    However Mr. Scully did seem to refer to these to these new hires during this Interview in on radio 1490AM: https://www.facebook.com/1706575987/videos/10202201022302793/
    He states “In the haverhill public schools we have about 30% hispanic students” “We hired over 100 new employees and 30 % of those are minorities”

    Great! Lets do the math on that. 30 % of 100 = 30 employees. This is only of new hires. not district wide. The 30% of students is district wide. Current data from DESE shows 30% of the 475 teachers we currently have districtwide would be at least 142 minority teachers (rounded down). So we are no way near 30 % minority staffed. In regards to full times staff (inclusive of full time teachers) there are 810 full-time staff, 35.4 of those are “minorities” and 774.6 are white. That means that only 4.37% of the total district staff are minorities, compared to the state average of 8.65%

    From the report on School Discipline:
    “In 2015 out-of-school suspension and in-school suspension rates were higher than the state rates for all students and for each subgroup that makes up the high needs population”.

    “Students with disabilities made up the highest population for both in-school suspension and out-of-school suspensions” 

    Out of school suspensions for students with disabilities was 9.1% in 2015 compared to the state 2015 average of 6.1% 

    In-school suspension for students with disabilities was 6.0% in 2015 compared to the state 2015 average of 3.4%

    From the DESE website: under discipline
    *The 2015 In-school suspension rate for the district was 7.0 at the high school level compared to the state average of 3.4

    *The 2015 Out-of-school suspension rate was 7.6 at the high school compared to the state average of 4.7

    Mr. Scully talks about two parents who wrote him requesting new sports “crew” and “gymnastics” who got them. Stating “WE LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE ASKING FOR” I guess that only pertains to sports, and explains why sports are doing so well and things like the achievement gap, class size, test scores, bullying, drugs and violence are less important to talk about unless we are taking about spending.

    **Mr. Scully later changes his tune about the “peaceful” Haverhill High described in this interview with Mr. Novak to justify overspending including the hiring of new officers/security guards to help secure Haverhill high and mentions drug needles, fights, etc… in the last school committee meeting which can be viewed here: http://haverhillcommunitytv.org/…/haverhill-school-committe…
    Mr. Scully continues to state “A SYSTEM IS ONLY GOING TO BE AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SELECTED TO LEAD IT”. This I agree with, and our school district is certainly reflective of his leadership…

    #Accountability #Transparency #CommUNITY #StriveForExcellence #AllStudentsMatter #DismantleTheSchoolToPrisonPipeline

    • “Leadership for English language arts curriculum is currently being assumed by the assistant superintendent. The absence of a dedicated person for this key core curriculum area…”

      Ms. Hobbs-Everett….Can you explain how it is the responsibility of Mr. Scully, or any other school administrator, to adequately teach students when they show up in schools without adequate English speaking skills? Your racially biased and subjective identification of this issue as a “key core curriculum area” confirms my earlier statement of your unwillingness to promote “individual responsibility”. Constantly pointing fingers at Mr. Scully, et.al. for the failings of your special interest target group via claims of victimization is a tired and old. Your enabling, and even promoting, this generation of ethnic students to avoid taking responsibility by blaming their shortcomings on others will only produce more of the same in the future. With all due respect Ms. Hobb-Everett, put up or shut up…you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.

        • Ms. Hobbs-Everett, your avoiding my assertions that you, and the HHC, are a race based special interest group which promotes a victimization agenda, and does nothing to promote individual responsibility, is a glaring confirmation.

          • Mr. Jack I am not a member of HHC. To answer your other questions, yes I am a US citizen born and raised in Haverhill. I actually do not speak Spanish and English is my first and only language. Not that any of that matters. Thank you, good day

        • Ms. Hobbs-Everett…I’m confused.
          You are quoted in this WHAV article by saying you requested a meeting “to replace the one parents tried to attend last month to address their concerns.” That meeting was at the request of the HHC. Below you responded to me by saying “Mr. Jack I am not a member of HHC”.

          Is there some other racial special interest parent group that you are speaking on behalf of other than HHC?

          • Mr. Jack yes, you are confused. I invited parents to attend the meeting, it was open to all parents, not just Hispanic/ Latino parents. In fact it was open to the community. And no I am not a part of any “racial special interest parent group” I’m sorry to disappoint you. A simple google search would serve you well it seems. Again, good day sir.

      • The community “is” enlightened Ms Hobbs-Everett. People are very well aware of your race based agenda based on fictitious claims of victimization, and your propensity to ignore individual responsibility. The community is also enlightened regarding the Haverhill Hispanic Coalition whose members, many of whom are criminal trespassers in this country illegally, refuse to assimilate into the English speaking culture that they have put themselves into. Virtually all of the issues you all lobby for would disappear if you just realized city government and public resources are not there to cater to your race based special interest requests. If education is your goal, try promoting individual responsibility and cultural conformity instead of your constant tired claims of ethnic disparity. Look within for some true enlightenment Ms. Hobbs-Everett.

  3. Is this meeting to address bullying and school violence or is it to address her own political agenda?
    Seems like she is trying to combine her three issues into one meeting.
    I do agree, if s meeting is scheduled it should be at a central location, say city hall. I’m tired of attending meetings in the neighborHoods. I am a taxpayer to and would be happy to attend in another area. Also please have it after work hours.

  4. Hobbs-Everett alleges parents’ concerns went overlooked and “have now reached a boiling point.”

    They haven’t been overlooked Ms Hobbs-Everett….there is nothing to discuss on behalf of the Supt. Scully. He made his decision of firing a problem employee. What else is there to discuss? Running the schools isn’t a participatory democracy where decisions are made by popular vote. Just because there is a racist group of parents, including yourself, who doesn’t agree with that decision doesn’t mean it needs to be revisited. The boiling point only exists because that tiny group of parents with a specific race based agenda can’t take no for an answer. That’s YOUR problem, Ms Hobbs-Everett !!

    Thank God the City of Haverhill has such a professional Superintendent who isn’t afraid to stand up to these people.