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File #: 170582    Version: 0 Name:
Type: Resolution Status: LAPSED
File created: 5/25/2017 In control: Joint Committees on Public Health & Human Services and Education
On agenda: Final action:
Title: Authorizing Council's joint Committees on Public Health and Human Services and Education to hold hearings to examine the practice by the Department of Human Services to deny due process protections to public school teachers accused of child abuse and the Philadelphia School District's reliance on such findings to terminate teachers prior to an actual determination of abuse.
Sponsors: Councilmember Bass, Councilmember Gym, Councilmember Squilla, Councilmember Reynolds Brown, Councilmember Oh, Councilmember Jones, Council President Clarke, Councilmember Blackwell, Councilmember O'Neill, Councilmember Johnson, Councilmember Quiñones Sánchez
Attachments: 1. Signature17058200.pdf
Title
Authorizing Council's joint Committees on Public Health and Human Services and Education to hold hearings to examine the practice by the Department of Human Services to deny due process protections to public school teachers accused of child abuse and the Philadelphia School District's reliance on such findings to terminate teachers prior to an actual determination of abuse.

Body
WHEREAS, In June 2016, Philadelphia teacher Marianne Kennedy, a 20-year veteran at Willard Elementary School in Kensington, was accused of child abuse for assisting in calming an out-of-control 8 year old, with a history of behavior problems, at the request of the school's principal; and

WHEREAS, The aftermath of this incident resulted in Kennedy being summoned by a social worker at the City's Department of Human Services (DHS) to come in and "have a conversation" about what occurred at the school when the child lay on the floor, screaming and blocking access to a classroom. The DHS worker assured Kennedy she did not need to have an attorney present, and a colleague who accompanied her was barred from the interview. Kennedy explained that the child's parents, who had just lost custody of him, had a history of drug abuse and that the school's staff and administration had worked with his guardian to provide emotional and academic supports for him; and

WHEREAS, Kennedy was shocked to find a few weeks later that her employer had been notified by DHS that she had been identified as a child abuser and that the district was already taking steps to have her terminated - even though she was not provided with any notice of allegations that specifically stated what she could have done that could be construed as abuse; and

WHEREAS, Several witnesses, including the principal, submitted statements to DHS and the district that Kennedy followed proper procedure and never did anything to harm the child. Only the organized and vocal support by her colleagues and community members preve...

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