From: Whistleblowers– Comprised of a Large Group of Extremely Concerned TUSD Administrators, Teachers, Retired Administrators and Teachers, Parents, Grandparents- Growing with Each and Every Letter
HT Sanchez, TUSD Superintendent and Steffanie Boe, Communications and Media Director, have stooped to an all-time hell-level low, obviously condoned by Governing Board members Kristel Foster, Cam Juarez, and Adelita Grijalva. In an open letter and news release posted on the TUSD website Sanchez and Boe have actually villainized and brutalized the most recent victim who has come forward and reported TUSD wrongdoings. The courageous former teacher who has spoken up is Celeste Aho, a veteran teacher of 17 years. She came forward and shared her experience with KGUN-9 News about how the District’s mostly unwritten discipline directives resulted in her losing the behavioral management control needed in her classroom in order to create a safe teaching environment.
She was directed by the administration to steer away from any form of progressive discipline consequences for students whose behavior was negatively escalating and was presented with what we believe to be a much distorted idea of positive behavior classroom management approaches. TUSD is not implementing Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) or restorative discipline practices as they were designed. Training has failed because many have not received any training and also because the quality of training for those who have received training is confusing and of poor quality.
It is clear from what was reported by the teacher to KGUN-9 that TUSD policy, as outlined in the Guidelines for Student Rights and Responsibilities (GSRR), was NOT implemented due to the uttered mandates which contradict the GSRR. A student injured this teacher so severely that she had to have surgery on her shoulder. The teacher spoke to Valerie Cavazos about the incident which was reported on September 28, 2016 on KGUN-9 and updated on September 29, 2016.
HT Sanchez and Steffanie Boe want us to believe that kindergartners are not capable of such conduct, which exposes their lack of awareness about what is actually happening in our classrooms at all levels throughout the District due to HT Sanchez’ administrative under-the-table dictates and not the GSRR. When principals are told to implement discipline programs which have not been rolled out effectively while also directing NOT to discipline children, discipline problems escalate. PBIS and Restorative Practices are both successful practices but only if they are actually implemented effectively.
Sanchez and Boe claim that the date of the incident lessens its relevance because it occurred in 2013. Assault is assault whether it happened yesterday, today, or tomorrow and we know that assaults occurred in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and we know that they are being down-played, reported incorrectly, or perhaps not reported at all. TUSD does not want to discuss what has happened in the recent past but only about what they promise or plan to do tomorrow, the next day, later in the year, etc. TUSD’s promises and plans for the future have been shown to be plots to draw attention away from what has and is happening. What good is a promise if it is broken or a plan if it is never implemented?
Many of us viewed the KGUN-9 news story and immediately could relate to what Ms. Aho experienced. These type of stories are whispered about among teachers and administrators, along with expressing the same sentiment that she did in feeling as though our hands tied. The story revealed that there have been about two dozen teachers who have come forward about similar incidences. It’s obvious that twenty-four faculty/staff assaults do not warrant a statement from TUSD acknowledging the problem with a commitment to look into the situation. Instead, Sanchez and Boe team up and brutalize the victim by blaming her while attempting to discredit her. In the process TUSD also dismisses two dozen additional referenced victims and also takes cheap shots at the KGUN-9 Reporter, challenging her integrity. It is a wonder that HT Sanchez even has the word “integrity” in his vocabulary because otherwise he is void of any at all. Boe is doing as he directs and mirroring as he does. Where does that leave her? Of course, also without any honor.
There are many more staff members, teachers and administrators who have been assaulted by students than the mere two dozen who have come forward to KGUN-9 News, as reported. We know of such incidences this school year. One mere example is a teacher who was so severely assaulted that bruises remain visible on her limbs. This physical attack by a student was reported as an “assault” when it should have been treated and reported as an “aggravated assault.” When the victim learned that the violation had been minimized, she felt that she had been diminished. We had previously mentioned the assistant principal who was assaulted by a student. The administrator asked that the police be called and was told by the principal that calling in the police would ruin her career. The intimidation stopped her from involving the police. Thus, the TUSD record has and will appear better than it has been or is. It is under-reporting and minimizing the infractions. What matters to Sanchez and Boe is lower discipline numbers, even if they are incorrect. (Should we simply refer to this malevolent team as B. & S.?) When one of our peers is treated with such disrespect and lack of protection, we all feel abandoned and disrespected. (Let us remind you that we have NO real union. We have what appears to be a union (TEA) but it is a disjointed organization with a board and president who are mightily disrespected for selling teachers down the river. TEA is actually vulnerable to de-certification as a union due to its lowest membership on record. HT (along with his majority board) exploits TEA’s lack of power by allowing the TEA president and his board to exist with the understanding that TEA will endorse whatever they want, such as the molasses- distribution of 1 2 3 and 301 funding, or that TEA condemn such things as the teacher evaluation process and the teacher diversity plan.)
The Boe/Sanchez open letter takes hit after hit at Ms. Aho, revealing personnel information in very selective and deceptive ways. We believe that Ms. Aho’s privacy rights have been violated and that the tactics which Sanchez and Boe have used in their open letter has further eroded any confidence in having employees report severe infractions within TUSD. On Friday, after the story was aired on Thursday, the buzz at 1010 was that HT was going to bring the KGUN-9 reporter “down” this time and that his Board majority told him to do whatever he needed to do to go after her. HT Sanchez and Boe began the 1010 rumor that Ms. Aho was “unstable” as a teacher; that she had “problems;” and that she was the problem- and not the situation leading up to the student assaulting her. It is obvious that their aim is to discredit Ms. Aho as an educator, even though at one time Sanchez himself visited her classroom and commented on the excellence of her instruction. Ms. Aho was nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science. She was nominated for Teacher of the Year by parents. But in the Sanchez/Boe world of spin, the aim is to disregard the facts and replace them with lies. The aim is to destroy those who dare challenge the Sanchez administration.
In a pathetic effort to show what the District has accomplished in the area of discipline, Sanchez and Boe brag about the IMPACT event that was held at the beginning of the school year, one which offered several workshops pertaining to discipline and bullying. It is referenced as though this single event is the answer to all of the contradictions resulting in the mass confusion pertaining to discipline. The event itself focused on one single facet- bullying. The discipline problems in TUSD, we will concede, have to do with bullying but it is not student bullying that is the biggest problem but rather the constant bullying by HT and his top level administrators, along with the Board majority. The Sanchez/Boe open letter is one of the best examples of bullying.
On Thursday, July 28, 2016, prior to the IMPACT event, about 68 individuals had signed up to attend. This low number would have marked the event as a failure. HT and the event organizers went into an absolute panic on Thursday and immediate “salvaging” actions were put in motion. One example: Jimmy Hart was directed to “get the refugees there” as if “refugees” were to be herded like cattle to the event. Hart was successful in having several refugee families attend through his efforts. He offered round-trip TUSD transportation, school supplies, back packs, child care, breakfast and lunch.
Another example of the last minute desperation that permeated the two days prior to the event was the email HT Sanchez directed be sent out to employees on July 28th (two days prior to the event). The email alerted employees that they would receive 4 hours of credit training if they attended the training, which is the main thing that drove enrollment up to a suitable level. The bribe worked. By Saturday, July 30th enrollment had grown from the mere 68 to approximately 400, with a significant number of refugee families attending and a very significant number of TUSD employees and their children or grandchildren attending. When TUSD essentially pays employees to attend an event, along with providing two meals, it should not come not be considered a great accomplishment that people show up and give a big boost in the event’s attendance. It was obviously not the subject matter that created the last minute attendance surge. We have yet to see the impact from the IMPACT event but we are betting that the District has no idea about how to measure any impact from the event, even though they will wind up paying employees for credit hours in training. Desegregation funding was used to pay for the event, however, we believe that the event had little to no impact in improving the problems with the management of discipline within TUSD. It is just another rather desperate ploy to use the IMPACT event as something meaningful in addressing discipline, when we all recognize the continued chaos in how discipline is being managed by HT Sanchez.
In their “open” letter Boe and Sanchez say that they ‘want to assure our Tucson Unified community of teachers, staff members, families and students that they take all incidents and reported incidents at our schools seriously.’ This lie is unbearable and pathetic. They then list HT Sanchez himself and Steffanie Boe as the two people to contact with any problems which need to be addressed. NO one who has been around for anytime at all would dare contact either Sanchez or Boe in reporting any concern or any alleged violation. Their open letter was the last frosty chill needed to convince all TUSD employees not to contest the Sanchez regime. Do you remember what happened when a group of employees complained about the Tucson High Magnet High School Principal in 2013? They went directly to HT Sanchez with their formal complaint, who six months after the complaint was filed with him said that he had “lost” the complaint. For six long months- half a year and ¾ of a school year, the employees were ignored and nothing was done. Then he assigned the investigation to a TUSD attorney who, of course, reported no wrong doing by the Principal. The employees all have suffered one form of retaliation or another, inclusive of termination.
(Article continued below)
Do you remember what happened to Chuck Bermudez when he told the truth about what he was being directed to do in managing discipline at Booth-Fickett? He was asked to vacate his post immediately.
local-news/booth-fickett-k-8- principal-resigns-following- bullying-complaints
tell-all-interview-booth- ficket-principal-reveals- details-about-discipline- issues
We could go on but the point is that no one in their right mind is about to report wrong-doing to Sanchez or Boe, especially with this latest open attack on a former employee who spoke out.
Sanchez and Boe make a point of insulting Ms. Aho and coverage by KGUN-9 News by telling us to “consider the source.” We have. We believe Ms. Aho. We also believe KGUN-9 News. The reporting is reliable, credible, and continuously exposing the facts about TUSD. More than this, it works under the protection of FREEDOM OF THE PRESS and should not be hampered or bullied by TUSD in any way. We know that HT has complained about the reporting that has been done by the Arizona Daily Star when it is “negative” and it seems that that such squealing about it from Sanchez has been successful. We thank KGUN-9 News for their coverage and ask that their investigative reporting on TUSD continue.
“The source” that must be considered in making any judgement about the current situation is that of Sanchez and Boe. Sanchez began his scheming before he was even issued his contract as Superintendent. He offered a consulting position to a friend from Texas with whom he worked in his former school district and whom he had listed as a reference on his TUSD application for the position. One he was in place as TUSD Supt., she was awarded a near $100,000. This told us who HT is but many people did not want to see him for the cheat and liar that he is. His most recent cheating- by manipulating discipline data- reveals that he is more than willing to do anything to make it appear as though he knows what he is doing. He does not.
Steffanie Boe has also revealed who she is to us. She came to us by way of KVOA as a production manager. It did not take time at all for her to show favor toward her former employer. On April 5, 2016 KVOA was awarded a $750,000 marketing contract, which Boe will oversee. She has also been busy getting her husband, Bradley Boe, an emergency teaching certificate so that he could join TUSD as a teacher after departing from KVOA. She did her “PR” (personal relations) to make this happen. How cozy! It does not bother Steffanie Boe at all to ask reporters to back off from stories because bad press will hurt TUSD’s enrollment figures. This is bogus. What hurts TUSD is the lack of oversight that HT Sanchez has had from the current Board majority. There is no accountability and because there is no accountability, there is no transparency.
Steffanie Boe is in charge of putting lipstick on the pig (HT, Foster, Juarez, & Grijalva). In the process Steffanie has also become the beast. All the lipstick in the world will not disguise HT (his gang of 3) or her. Most of her time is spent on spinning HT stories. What time is spent on the schools results in stories that are all partial truths and blatant demonstrations of favoritism.
The current communication style that Boe has taken on is filled with deception and a defensive posture. Tax payers should not be footing the bill for deception. Now that you have the facts before you should read the Boe/Sanchez open letter. Prepare for being disgusted!
When we began our Whistleblower open letters in September of 2014 we informed the public that we could not divulge our identities based on our fear of retaliation. The position that we assumed and have held true to is the only thing that has protected each of us and our group. We were right to be fearful and we have been right in our attempts to expose TUSD since then. Sanchez track record of retaliation began early and it has continue throughout his 38 months and 3 days with TUSD. (But who is counting?)
We continue to be grateful to Three Sonorans for publishing every single one of our letters and for exposing the campaign contributions discussed above. We appreciate greatly that the Arizona Daily Independent publishes many of our letters and/or references them within their own posts, from time to time. Additionally, continue to acknowledge an organization that is also working very hard to expose the facts about TUSD: TUSDKidsFirst, which also has made reference to our letters, which we appreciate. Check the organization out at: http://tusdkidsfirst.org/
PLEASE post on various blogs, Facebook and email out to your list.
We had promised that in our next letter we would be endorsing TUSD candidates, however, it has been delayed due to the importance in getting this letter put together and out to the community immediately.