Wednesday, November 23, 2011

DeKalb Schools settle science center discrimination suit

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News has learned the DeKalb County School system has settled a racial discrimination suit filed by a day care owner over an encounter at the Fernbank Science Center.

Changes are also under way at the Fernbank Science Center after the south Fulton day care owner claimed she and a group of kids were kicked out of a picnic area of the center because of the color of the their skin.

"It was racial discrimination. It was definitely racial discrimination," Happy Times Childcare owner KiKi Finch told Channel 2’s Tom Jones last year. That's how Finch described what happened during a September 2010 lunchtime trip to the Fernbank Science Center, which is owned by DeKalb County Schools. "We were told, 'You're not feeding those kids here,'" Finch said. At the time, she told Jones a security guard told her and 11 kids from the center, an all-black group, that they couldn't eat at one of the picnic tables and threatened to call police. 

They ended up eating on a termite-infested retaining wall, Finch said. Minutes later, Finch said she saw another group eating at the same tables, but those kids were white. Finch filed a discrimination suit, which the school district settled last month. (Reportedly for $35,000)

Click here to read the story.


Anonymous said...

Sure would like to know the story here...

Anonymous said...

I agree 10:03. If a class was to have lunch in the area, that class should have dibs to the area. I have been asked to leave with my son and I too am a tax payer in the county, because they weren't open to the public. I have a feeling that DCSS is known that if you sue you will get some type of settlement. District is seen as a cash cow to many and many want a piece of the pie so to speak.

I really wish that we knew more as the district has more blacks than whites working and as students. Tax payers have a right to know what really happened as money was paid out, again another loss for the children of the district.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, the story is that some black kids were discriminated against. Not everyone thinks to sue to get money. Some sue because they were wronged. Not the first time I've heard of a group of black kids getting second-class treatment on school trips (Puppet Museum-Fernbank-High Museum-Kng Center!!!) compared to white classes.

Anonymous said...

Termite-infested retaining wall??

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cheryl Atkinson, DeKalb County’s new public school superintendent, had this to say after the election: “We are very pleased the voters of DeKalb County are supportive of our efforts to provide the best facilities and resources for our students.”

To be a tad more accurate, a very small percentage of DeKalb County voters supported this initiative at the polls. And whether SPLOST will actually result in DCSS providing “the best facilities and resources for our students,” only time will tell. If only Dr. Atkinson could guarantee that fraud and financial mismanagement in DCSS are things of the past, I would feel much better. But she can’t make that guarantee. No one can.

If the past tells us anything, fraud and mismanagement will continue to be part of the funding equation in DCSS. Indeed, just as retailers must factor “shrinkage” into their pricing equations, we apparently must be willing to factor fraud and mismanagement into the cost of operating our public school system.

It is worth noting that before the election we were assured that if voters didn’t agree to extend SPLOST for another sixty months, property taxes in DeKalb County would go up—would go up, not might go up. At the same time, however, we were not assured that DCSS would be a better steward of tax revenues going forward.

If we truly get the government we deserve, this is probably why we get it. Our elected officials give us ultimatums bearing directly on our pocketbooks. If we don’t do what they want us to do, then we can expect to feel the pinch. So we go to the polls and vote for something like SPLOST. But all this means is that the pinch will be put off until some time in the future when those same elected officials, or new ones who look and sound very much like the old ones, again threaten us with an increase in our property taxes if we don’t do what they want us to do.

“And,” to quote Kurt Vonnegut, “so it goes.”

As far as I can tell, fraud and mismanagement are unlikely to disappear from the surface of the earth any time soon. Big piles of public revenue invite itchy fingers, nepotism and backroom deals. They always have and they always will, and not just in DeKalb County. Knowing that, however, never seems to matter when a proposal like SPLOST comes along.

Maybe if more voters exercised their right to make their voices heard at the ballot box, things would change. But as long as seven percent of the county’s voters can impose their will on the rest of us, I’m afraid it will be business as usual for a very long time to come.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible? South Fulton day care v. Dekalb County school classfield trip, which group should have had priority over limited seating?

Sorry, seats go to County group. Group that has ties to actual funding.

If DCSS group went to Fulton county facility, I would expect Fulton county residents to have priority.

Anonymous said...

I think there may be more to this story. Groups pay to visit Fernbank. IF they are having lunch on the premises I think that needs to be worked out ahead of time. If they were at the High or the Carlos Museum I don't think the kids can plop down anywhere they want and have lunch.

Anonymous said...

It is my opinion whoever violates the principles of morality should not be in a position to represent the people. In this case, whoever at Fernbank did this should be outta there. If power is given to an incompetent person, it is equivalent to leading society astray towards immorality.


Furnbank? I'm around meanness, unrighteousness, and selfishness within the walls of my school. There is a lot of "lip service" based on policies put in place as a deterrent, but if you don't put forth an effort to change the very CULTURE of DCSS--the good ole ship STATUS QUO will continue to float our boat.

Anonymous said...

There are two sides to every story and before anyone takes a side it would be best to hear the entire story.

Anonymous said...

And this is a surprise??? Considering the fine job of a nationwide search for the best available candidate(s) pthhhhh!

We got what we paid through the nostrils for and will continue paying through all the other county taxpayer's orifi til end of days!

Ben Dover Jim Bohica

Anonymous said...

I read some more about this case, and it appears the plaintiffs were victims. Both groups (black and white) were daycare groups. When the hear of FSC was directly asked about the complaint (before it went to court), he said he though extremely poor judgement was shown in turning the first group away from the tables.
In other words, no real excuse for it.

Sometimes things are exactly as they seem.

Anonymous said...

The security guard who asked the group to leave was black.

Cerebration said...

It really doesn't matter to me what happened here. I am just going to continue to publish every single news items showing exactly how much money this school system wastes on legal fees and settlements until it is well known that these costs are what is harming our classrooms the most.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I bet everyone signed non-disclosure agreements after the settlement. We'll probably never know!

Anonymous said...

Settling this suit was cheaper than going to court.