Matthew Haag of the Dallas Morning News writes a very good story updating the public regarding the case filed with the Office of Civil Rights by some Dallas ISD School parents with regards to Administrative Bully Shirley Ison-Newsome forbidden Dallas ISD girls the opportunity to see the movie “Redtail.”
MATTHEW HAAG The Dallas Morning News Staff Writer
Published: 20 July 2012 10:44 PM
RelatedDallas school employees must receive gender equality training after a U.S. Department of Education investigation into the district’s boys-only field trip in February to see the war movie Red Tails.
The Dallas Independent School District reached an agreement last week with the federal department’s Office of Civil Rights that requires the district to provide training and ensure that no future educational programs exclude students based on gender, according to a representative with the federal agency.
The school district spent $57,000 in February to send 5,000 fifth-grade boys to a Mesquite movie theater to see an action film about black pilots who flew missions in World War II. The fifth-grade girls stayed behind at school.
DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander said the training would be the same program school leaders already receive every year for Title 9, a federal law that prohibits schools receiving federal funds from gender-based discrimination in education programs.
Superintendent Mike Miles said officials in the school leadership department, which oversees schools, will undergo training soon. All principals are scheduled to attend a two-hour training session led by the district’s human resources department in early August, he said.
“I think it’s good to have a refresher training,” Miles said. “I knew we had an issue with the Red Tails, and now we are going to comply. It will be good training.”
Another part of the agreement states that “any education benefits received by fifth-grade boys and girls on or about February 9, 2012, will be provided to all fifth-grade students, regardless of sex/gender.” Dahlander said he was uncertain Friday how that would be handled.
The agreement with the Department of Education ends one of two investigations after the boys-only field trip, which sparked public outrage and raised concerns that the district had violated anti-discrimination laws.
The Texas Education Agency has been investigating DISD’s use of Title I funds to pay for the trip. Title I funds are federal dollars earmarked for educating disadvantaged children. A TEA spokeswoman didn’t respond to email Friday about the status of its investigation.
The state agency, which oversees the use of federal funds, has said it believes the federal money should be spent on all students and not for programs that exclude children based on gender.
Email messages released by the school district after the field trip show that the trip was conceived in mid-January by Shirley Ison-Newsome, who was then the district’s interim schools chief. Ison-Newsome and an assistant, Wendy Hawthorne, decided to pay for the trip by taking $50,000 out of a $300,000 fund for an early childhood initiative, the emails revealed.
Miles recently named Ison-Newsome a new assistant superintendent overseeing a cluster of schools and gave her a $23,500 pay raise. Ison-Newsome didn’t respond to an email seeking comment about the agreement.
Ison-Newsome decided days before the boys-only field trip that the girls could stay at school and watch Akeelah and the Bee, a 2006 film about a girl in the national spelling bee. But the film was optional, and some fifth-grade teachers said their principals didn’t show it.
In internal DISD email messages among administrators and principals before the field trip, no one questioned whether it was appropriate to leave girls out of the trip.