A popular headmistress at Calumet City School District 155 has been demoted for her alleged tenacity and disregard of district administration orders.
In a Movement That was Not Justified by Many School Workers On July 5, the school board voted 5 to 2 for a "reclassification" of long-time Wentworth Junior High Principal Ermetra Olawumi.
The district did not immediately call for a replacement.
The vote of the board after a longer, closed session break, was conducted without discussion or explanation.
Afterwards, President Stanley Long said he supported Olawumi's downfall because she did not "obey orders."
"There is a chain of command and you have to go on the chain of command," he said. "If on duty a sergeant says, 'Rinse the dishes, they're not clean enough,' even if you can see your face in the bowl, wash it again."
Lang, a board member for parts Over the past four decades, he said his decision to downgrade Olawumi was to carry out the will of the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent.
"The Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent rate the people and we try to get the best." he said. "They just do their jobs and tell us what they found, and then the board has to respond."
Opponents of the decision to reclassify Olawumi pointed out her academic turn in middle school – which they claim to produce many of the graduates and other students with the highest scores – and the strong support she receives from co-workers, parents, and students.
"Parents love Mrs. Olawumi , Teachers love her, "said Kathryne Stern, one of two board members who opposed the school head's demotion." I am at school because I have children in this school. The kids who go in and out of this office should see you. They love her. "
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, 21.2 percent of Wentworth Junior High students in 2017 were thought to be" ready for the next level. "
This is significantly lower than the national average, but the number is more than 70 percent higher than the other two schools in most low-income districts, which feed on government estimates.
"We are attacking those who raise our children's levels," Stern said, "if this headmaster actually tries "Saving our children and trying to educate our children is not the most important thing about this school?"
Stern and Tonya Davis, the newest and only black members of the board, tied the white majority decision, Olawumi, of also black is to remove their views on race.The district is 57 percent black, 39 percent Hispanic, 2 percent white and 2 percent others .
"It's about time that the administrators and this president of you understand," Stern said during the conversation. The public comment of the meeting. "I am appalled that we are here at all."
Long, who is white, later said that he considered it a disgrace that the skin color of Olavumi had something to do with the board's decision
Olawumi, however, said she believed that her outspoken nature, in Considering their race and gender, played a role in the decision.
"I think they would prefer that," she said about her white husband Chefs. "I am a black woman, I just have to shut my mouth, I should be glad I have a job."
Olawumi said she received rave reviews from her superiors in her last decade, but that had changed this year.
"It makes no sense to me, in all my years I've never had anything like that," she said of the exam that she received this year from Assistant Superintendent Joseph Zotto. "Normally your superiors support you, if you do something, they try to help you, they are not the ones who attack you."
Zotto declined to comment on any issues related to the decision to demote Olawumi, citing his inability to talk about personnel matters.
Olawumi said that her first year working under Zotto was pleasant enough. When they met, he commented on how much she was loved by teachers and staff, and at the end of the year she rated her performance "excellent," the highest possible rating, she said.
The Problems She started this school year on her first day when she said he'd eulogized her in an e-mail for school purchases she did not really do and copied a number of other school officials onto the paper.
She said that if she "answered everything" to his email to defend herself and express her displeasure with unfounded charges, he did not appreciate it and quickly paid her a personal visit to tell her so ,
"It was my first day back, but it was already there for me to make me look bad," Olawumi said, adding that things just went away from there.
She said Zotto sent her frequent memos criticizing her leadership and decision.
All that would happen was my fault, "Olawumi said," and it made no sense. "
Stern and several faculty members said it looked like the district was trying to set up a case against Olawumi and looking for a reason to remove them.
The pressure to feel like them "Olawumi said," I had a perfect presence last year, and this year I missed about 20 days, "Olawumi said. She said. "It has got to be so far that I can not go to work anymore, I mean, it was just the stress of, what will he say now?"
The best-known transgression, for which Olawumi said she received her first and only disciplinary report from the district, happened in the fall, when she was trying to hold an ice cream day for students.
She said that she used the idea of a neighboring circle, the Ice Cream Days, to reward students for their academic achievements, and that their own students and their parents were on board with the proposal.
After administrators start asking teachers about the proposed ice cream day, Olawumi told them
"I sent an email canceling the ice cream day," she said in an interview. "Three days later they call me and I still get a report because I want to have an ice cream day."
According to Olawumi and her followers, the report stated that they serve children. Ice cream hurt earlier healthy Michelle Obama's healthy school luncheon initiative and also noted that giving child rice was a potential cleanup problem for the custody staff.
When asked if ice cream had played a role in his support of Olawumi's downgrade, Long said it had not.
"That had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with it," he said, naming the concept of giving children ice cream "nice", but adding that this was a risk for the children from lactose intolerance and had to stop eating Dairy products are brought to the hospital.
Olawumi's demotion was necessary because "she simply did not do her job," Long said.
Despite the improved test results and support from her staff, he said she was failing. The district leadership was unacceptable to the administrators.
"If you do something, do it," Long said.
Olawumi's future with the district is uncertain after her downgrading on Thursday. 19659002] "It was a good run, I mean, it really was," she said, pausing to wipe her tears while discussing her plans for the future.
She said Zotto told her she could stay a teacher in the district, but she could not stay in middle school where she prefers.
Stern said that teachers wanted to hold a strike in support of Olawumi after hearing that it could be demoted, but that Olawumi had put an end to the idea
"This concerns the children," Olawumi said a strike before adding that she appreciated the support of her staff.
"I love that you are loyal," she said. "I saw some of my teachers (on Thursday at 7:30 pm special session), who normally ran at 8:25, 8:20 in the door, and they were sitting there, which made me emotional just because I knew they were supporting me so much. "