When she took her nephew to school on Dec. 6, she said, police officers served her with a “barring notice” saying she had improperly “interviewed a first-grade student” and initiated an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct without immediately contacting the principal, pursued the claim with law enforcement “without just cause,” misconstrued facts in the student’s report to her and confronted the parent of the purported victim, “causing a verbal confrontation on school property.”
The notice said she could be subject to “arrest and prosecution for unlawful entry” if she came onto school property.
In an email to The Times, Ms. Washington said she never spoke to any parents after the incident and that although she did not email the principal until later in the day, she had notified the first-grade teacher of the student’s claim as soon as she “had the teacher’s ear alone.” She denied “interviewing” her nephew’s schoolmate.
She asked school officials to review a security tape of the day in question, according to the emails.
Upon receipt of the notice barring her from her nephew’s school, Ms. Washington sent an email to various D.C. officials, including the full D.C. Council, Ms. Henderson and other school officials and lawyers. In the emails, she asked that the barring notice be lifted and said her nephew was “visibly shaken” by the police presence, as he thought she was under arrest.
About four hours later, Mr. Utiger, the school system’s general counsel, wrote in an email to Ms. Washington that he had reviewed the matter and been briefed on her conduct. “I believe your conduct as reported, and your intemperate emails, fully justified barring you from the school, particularly since you do not appear to be the legal guardian of any child attending the school. Finally, I do not intend to respond further to your emails,” he wrote.
On Dec. 12, Aprille Washington wrote in an email to Mr. Davis that as a single parent, her sister, Ms. Washington, was an integral part of her son’s life since his father died when he was 2 years old. She said, “If this bar notice remains in effect, I will be forced to take leave from my job, because I have no one else to ensure my child gets to school and transitions well in the morning.”
Public schools spokesman Hassan Charles said school officials had contacted the Child and Family Services Agency as required by law and received advice about how to handle the matter, which led to the parent conference conducted by Ms. Foster. He said the school system issues “less than two dozen” barring notices per year, and that it takes Ms. Washington’s concerns seriously.
Mr. Charles said the school system also takes seriously any concerns parents raise about other parents or caregivers. He said the school system acted appropriately under the circumstances and in the best interests of the students at Randle Highlands.
In one email, the mother of the boy who is said to have touched another boy accused Ms. Washington of targeting her son with false allegations. The other parent — who court records suggest lives in Maryland - sent an email to Ms. Henderson accusing Ms. Washington of “bribing” her son with candy and “interrogating him before the school day started.”
An email from Ms. Henderson to Mr. Davis and Instructional Superintendent Clara Canty on Dec. 2 asked, “Can we bar Washington on the grounds of the parent request since we know the accusation is true?”
Ms. Canty replied, “That was already our plan (not based on parent request, but based on her inappropriate actions — we were actually waiting on her to take it too far.)”View Entire Story
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Jeffrey Anderson is an investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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