Back in December, I wrote about the terrible judgement of an elementary school principal in Hartford.
It’s not surprising that parents and education advocates have reacted with disbelief at the decision by the now former assistant superintendent to place color coded stickers on the backs of certain SAND Elementary students. Chris Hempel, second in charge of the district of Hartford, Connecticut, erred in judgement when he decided to label kids with stickers as part of a training exercise for principals and other city educators about the complex issue of differentiation in the classroom.
Well, the investigation has concluded and the state report does indeed fault the Hartford Schools, not only for the labeling of students but also for the failure to notify parents of the decision to do so. Additionally, they acknowledge that the stickers precipitated teasing and bullying of children who had stickers placed on their backs.
Hartford Public Schools “provided no evidence of any legitimate educational reason for labeling students and distributing student narratives that, although they did not include student records or identify students by name, contained sensitive information about students,” the report’s author, Adrian R. Wood, wrote in the 15-page document.
“There was no organized follow-up by or outreach from [the district] or SAND School to ensure that targeted families were notified or engaged regarding the use of colored stickers to differentiate students,” he added. (Hartford Courant, July 22, 2016)
Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez addressed the report via a letter that went to board members, parents, and staff:
“we continue to take this matter very seriously…We reviewed the procedure used and it was determined to be inappropriate and not to be used again…”
Narvaez also indicates in the letter that she met with families “directly impacted by the incident.
Hopefully parents find comfort in knowing that the district has been publicly and officially rebuked by the state board of education and are confident that nothing like this will happen again.
And let’s hope it doesn’t.