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Response to Michelle Rhee
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Dear Ms. Rhee,

I am writing in response to your last email.  I have a number of questions:


1)  What are the “serious concerns” made by the Capitol Hill Cluster LSRT?  Also, who are the “other concerned individuals”.  The LSRT has never stated any reason for not wanting the ULTRA Teen Choice Program at Stuart-Hobson Middle School, other than stating “their curriculum failed to meet the DC Standards at the time”.  What standards did it fail to meet?  Our program has been reviewed multiple times by the DCPS HIV/AIDS office.  See the attached letter.(Attached:  Letter from Linda Wright).

2) What are the “organizational priorities” that ULTRA Teen Choice is not meeting?

3) Please specify exactly what the “concrete steps” we are supposed to take in response to the “areas of concern raised to my office” are.  Your staff refused to put anything in writing.

4)  What specific part of the Human Rights Act are you alleging that ULTRA Teen Choice is violating that makes ULTRA Teen Choice not “inclusive and affirming of all DCPS students and their families”?  By denying access to the ULTRA Teen Choice program for youth who want to stay sexually abstinent and drug free, isn’t DCPS being non inclusive of that (majority) group?

5)  Please provide “the District’s non-discrimination policy” (other that the Human Rights Act), and state specifically which part is allegedly being violated by ULTRA Teen Choice.

In fact, DCPS is violating my human rights.  This is a clear case of religious discrimination.  The only substantive communication from an LSRT member that we have, the email from Tina May, indicates that clearly.  This is prohibited according to the Human Rights Act. (Attached:  Tina May email)

Additionally, Dr. Nyankori made a false statement in denying the UTC program permission to continue operating at Stuart-Hobson.  This statement, that  “The chancellor has place a moratorium on all external providers of health and consumer education.  Her goal is to ensure providers  programs are consistent with DC standards.”  is false.  If it is not false, please provide the text of this moratorium.  This statement furthers the discrimination based on my religion that is being propagated by Tina May and the LSRT.(Attachment: Dr. Nyankori Email).

I ask you to repudiate the email sent by Jeremy Ogusky, a member of the team that worked on the proposed health education standards.    It is clearly biased against abstinence education and ULTRA Teen Choice.  If you are truly for abstinence education, then I ask you to state that he should not have been on the team, and to provide for more feedback from  parents and community members so that language inclusive of abstinence education can by included in the proposed standards.  See the petition text attached.  I also ask you to remove Mr. Ogusky or any member of Metro Teenaids  from future consideration for providing advice for any  current or future. DCPS health related matters.  (Attached: Metro TeenAIDS email) (Attached:  Petition)

I am also perplexed that you have transferred the recommendation of a school level advisory board to all DCPS public schools. (and it is just that, a recommendation) Furthermore, the Capitol Hill  Cluster LSRT is not operating according to DCPS guidelines.  As of November 30 the LSRT did not have minutes in the Stuart-Hobson school office and library, as required by DCPS guidelines.  I have also been unable to obtain a list of who is on the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools LSRT.  Oddly, Principal Brandon Eatman tells me that he cannot provide a list, either.  The committee only includes one parent member from Stuart-Hobson Middle School, which is the only school of the cluster affected by this recommendation.  Are you indicating that one person (Tina May), who is in violation of the DC Human Rights Act, can dictate policy for all DCPS schools and students?  The committee does not represent the racial composition of the school either, and is therefore not culturally sensitive to the needs of the youth served.  Furthermore, the committee did not seek the input of the larger school community, as required by LSRT guidelines.  And again, it is very hard to tell what the LSRT is doing, since they do not have minutes available as required by DCPS guidelines. (Attachment:  LSRT emails).

Finally, I ask you again to meet with parents and students who are active in the ULTRA Teen Choice program.  You stated before the City Council on November 2, “I am convinced that we must not let the rights, privileges, and priorities of adults to take precedence over what is in the best interests of students. We cannot allow children to languish while we try to remediate adults. We cannot forsake their futures for adult issues in the present.”  A meeting with parents and students affected by this situation will help allay concerns that what you stated may not actually be true.

I look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

Richard Urban
Executive Director
202-544-5081

 


From: Rhee, Michelle (OOC) [mailto:Michelle.Rhee@dc.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2007 6:12 PM
To: rurban@ultrateenchoice.org
Subject: ULTRA Teen Choice

Dear Mr. Urban,
Thank you for your letter to me regarding the work of ULTRA Teen Choice. Partnership reviews stem from the authority vested in the chancellor, who has discretion in forming partnerships with outside entities per the DC Municipal Regulations and Statutes and supported by the District of Columbia Public Education Reform Act of 2007.

In reviewing any partnership it is my goal to ensure that organizations working with DCPS demonstrate that their programs are both beneficial to students and aligned with organizational priorities. Furthermore, we expect partners to be inclusive and affirming of all DCPS students and their families as described in the District’s non-discrimination policy and Human Rights Act.

My staff met with you to understand better the serious concerns made by the Capitol Hill Cluster LSRT and those reported to my office by other concerned individuals. During the meeting, my representatives provided you with concrete steps to take to allay the concerns of the LSRT. To date, we have not received a response from you.

Therefore, I have decided to uphold the decision made by the LSRT to restrict you from DCPS schools both during the day and as an afterschool program. My decision is based on your reluctance to specifically address the areas of concern raised to my office. I will work with the school community through my partnership office to identify other abstinence oriented programs to offer to the school.

I want to make it unequivocally clear that my decision is in no way based on a condemnation of abstinence. My decision is based on your refusal to provide the necessary information to my staff to overturn the LSRT’s decision.

Sincerely,

Michelle Rhee

Chancellor

 

 

 

 

 

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