Parents urge Fargo School Board to reconsider plan for teacher accused of bullying
FARGO - The mother of a girl who was among four children the Fargo School District found was bullied by a teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary School urged the School Board Tuesday, Dec. 12, to not follow through with a plan to allow the teacher...
FARGO - The mother of a girl who was among four children the Fargo School District found was bullied by a teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary School urged the School Board Tuesday, Dec. 12, to not follow through with a plan to allow the teacher to continue to teach, but stopped short of asking for her to be fired.
"Why do we hold our students to a bullying code that we don't hold our teachers to?" Alexandra Matthews asked. "If my daughter had treated children this way, she would have been sent home. They would have intervened years ago. But we've had five years of complaints and disrespect from one person. And maybe if something had been done five years ago" this could have been fixed.
"We can stop this now. This doesn't need to go on," Matthews said.
She was referring to 38-year-old Andrea Deschamp, a former fifth-grade teacher at Lewis and Clark.
Deschamp was put on paid leave after a Nov. 15 meeting with Superintendent Jeff Schatz and other officials, after being accused of creating an environment of intimidation for Matthew's daughter and a small group of other students.
An investigation by Human Resources Director Brittnee Nikle concluded that allegations of bullying were substantiated.
"Now is the time we can change it so next year we don't have to be back here." Matthews said.
The district has created an action plan that removes Deschamp from Lewis and Clark, but states she will be considered for an alternative assignment for the rest of the 2017-18 school year. She will also be required to go through a mentoring and training program. If she returns to a classroom in 2018-19, she would work at another school. A middle school was suggested, according to district documents.
Schatz said the district would continue with the action plan, but declined further comment.
Two other parents referred to Deschamp without using her name, referencing an earlier Forum report on the issue.
Christie Axness indicated her daughter had Deschamp in third grade in the 2013-14 school year and had a medical condition that kept her out of classes a great deal that year.
Axness said she shared that information with Deschamp and that the information was then given to other parents in her daughter's class without permission from Axness or her husband.
Axness also complained about excessive homework sent home with her child.
"Our children deserve better," she said. "This situation has gone on for too many years and it needs to be stopped. I plead with you ... to take a different plan of action than the one decided."
Lisa Livingston said her son had a medical condition and his treatment in Deschamp's classroom last year affected him badly.
"There is a pattern of what our concerns are about," Livingston said.
"It was very traumatizing for my son last year. He had a medical condition. And he was pretty much humiliated in the classroom," she said.
"I didn't recognize my son because of all the trauma that he had endured last year. He is now is in a new school," and he is acting normally again, Livingston said.
The board did not comment on anything said by the three women.