Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Interesting response to possible band director misconduct

Seeing as how we never quite know what is in store around the corner for our blog discussions, we share this tidbit with a bit of head-shaking.  We never could have seen this one coming.

According to today's AJC:

Marching bands suspended in DeKalb over FAMU ties

In the aftermath of allegations of hazing in the death of a drum major at Florida A&M, the name of one Atlanta-area high school kept popping up.

Robert Champion, who died Nov. 19, was a Southwest DeKalb High School graduate. FAMU clarinetist Bria Hunter, injured in an earlier alleged hazing incident, was also a Southwest DeKalb graduate, as were two of the three bandmates who were charged with punching her hard enough to break her leg. (The third defendant is a Druid Hills High School graduate.) 

Worried by the connection, DeKalb County School System officials began questioning band directors and other school personnel throughout the system, and what they found was troubling. 

"We have documented evidence of inappropriate activity that took place over the summer," system spokesman Walter Woods told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, announcing Wednesday afternoon that the school system was indefinitely suspending marching band activities at county high schools. 

The school system's investigation unearthed some troubling "activity" beyond Southwest DeKalb, Woods said. He was not willing to disclose the nature of the incidents and said the investigation could take two months. 

All marching, except in special cases such as an upcoming Martin Luther King Day parade performance, will be suspended pending the outcome of the probe. 

"Our concern is that student safety needs to be assured," Woods said. "And we have a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or any other inappropriate behavior."

(Click the link above to read the rest.)

So what do you say? Fair response? Is it acceptable for certain bands to be allowed to play at the MLK parade, yet all other bands are punished for misconduct for a few?

For a wildly different perspective, take a look at this video where a former FAMU band member actually blames the victims of hazing:


Cerebration said...

REPOSTED from a previous thread:

Here's the e-mail band directors received today:


To: High School Principals & High School Band Directors
From: Ms. Kendra March, Deputy Superintendent, School Leadership and Operational Support
Through: Dr. Cheryl L. H. Atkinson, Superintendent
Subject: Marching Band
Date: December 7, 2011

Please read the important information below from Ms. March and forward this information on to your Band Directors.

Effective immediately! ALL Marching Band activities must cease and desist, pending further investigation regarding possible inappropriate activity involving Band Directors, Advisors, Volunteers and Band students.

If there is an after school band performance or practice scheduled within the next 30 days, you must receive approval from Ms. Kendra March, Deputy Superintendent in order to proceed. This does not apply to Band classes during the instructional day.

There will be a mandatory meeting for ALL High School Band Directors and High School Principals following the winter break. The date and time with be forthcoming.

Kendra D. March
Deputy Superintendent, School Leadership and Operational Support

Anonymous said...

kudos to Dr. Atkinson for taking the bull by the horns and investigating these issues... there have been a number of "suspicious" "band" activities stemming from SWD from the Drumline movie, its royalties, the travelling off-broadway-ish show, the incident with the chorus teacher and the Marta bus video that inquiring minds start to really wonder....

Cerebration said...

We had a discussion about the music director, Don Roberts a while back after it was reported in the Mid DeKalb News just how many outside engagements he takes on -- freelance.

Read more here:
marching orders

DRUMline Live brings down the house at Schermerhorn Symphony Center - Interview

It's great that he's enjoyed so much success - and has been able to take his show on tour to Japan, etc, however, how on earth does he also mind the big job here at home of the entire music program for DeKalb schools? It seems it could be time to hire a music director for our schools who actually has the time and the attention to focus solely on our students.

Anonymous said...

Hw did these SWD students get away with using the DCSS band uniforms in this disgusting video? What does this say about Southwest DeKalb and what does it say about DCSS? What disrespect for women. Look at the video and you'll see why DCSS needs some rules and regulations.

Does anyone else thinks this encourages disrespect and abuse of women?

Dr. Atkinson needed a strong response. Perhaps if there had been a stronger response in the last few years, the recent tragedies sold not have happened.

Anonymous said...

According to Walter Woods, they had "documented evidence of inappropriate activity over the summer." Why is it just now being addressed? Where was Don Roberts? Heard he was in Japan with Drumline Live the first week of school (AKA the critical days that no one is allowed to take off) even though there were schools needing instrumental music dept. support and apparently "inappropriate activities" that needed to be addressed. He is VERY protected. Good luck Dr. Atkinson!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Atkinson was not here during the summer or early fall. Ms. Tyson was the superintendent at that time. Dr. Atkinson is busy cleaning up messes in DeKalb. Taxpayers need to support her when she looks at the jobs "protected" personnel are doing. I'm writing Dr. Atkinson and the BOE members thanking her for investigating hazing in DeKalb.

Anonymous said...

It should be noted that the disgusting video was done in 2007 and those that participated in it were reprimanded.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for someone to write the unadulterated history of DeKalb County. Wierdness since the county was founded.
I think there's some kind of electro-magetic force coming from the center of the earth straight through Stone Mountain. Something to do with the granite that underlies the whole county.
Fun to live here. I'm a real fan.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 11:48

It says 2008 onthe video.

So why is this video still running on You Tube with the DeKalb Band uniforms on display? Is DeKalb County comfortable with the uniforms being used in a misogynist video?

Anonymous said...

I just saw that lube tube video posted above. Is there any doubt now why parental involvement is so important? Their mommas must be so proud.

These young men obviously have learned somewhere it is okay to disrespect women to this degree. It is no wonder why things are the way they are in this county.

This is the shinging example out on the internet for all the world to see about Dekalb's young people. Thanks!

Paula Caldarella said...

What is really scary about this? The number of people I have read and seen on TV blaming the victims. Wow, that is so wrong and such an indictment on these individuals. Do you really think Robert Champion wanted to die? Do you think Bria Hunter wanted to be beaten so badly she is now afraid for her life? I'm astounded at this attitude.

Anonymous said...

This is all disgusting - the fact that people would actually beat on someone for "fun", the fact that the drum majors would post such a nasty video. Who hits someone for fun? I feel like calling it hazing makes it sound like less than it is. This is assault. Sort of like how people are calling what Sandusky did secual misconduct. Call it like it is - it's rape.

Who thinks it's such a great thing to base a song on degrading women? Yes, teens will be teens, but there is a big difference between posting a fun video to you tube and writing an entire song that shows utter disregard for 50% of the population. Writing songs like that and thinking it's okay is the start to how people turn into beaters and rapists. As long as they are DCSS students and benefitting from my tax dollars (that paid for the uniforms they were wearing), they need to be held responsible for their actions.


Anonymous said...

SW DeKalb cheerleader video: 2009

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 12:10

The video was made during the summer of 2007. As mentioned, students were reprimanded when school started that year as it had gone viral. It was removed however nothing ever goes away in cyberspace.

While I don't condone what the students did, it does represent the acts of those involved and was not sanctioned by the school. Teenagers do dumb things and have for generations. We have seen shenanigans from greasers, beatniks, hippies to stoners, and gothers. Many of those grew up to be good citizens and probably look back in awe of what they did during their youth. Unfortunately social media and the internet allows the entire world to see how foolish one can be, making it hard to get any reputations back.

Anonymous said...

If the video is from 2007 then are these kids now possibly band members at FAMU?

Cerebration said...

Below is another relevant article to this story ---

Fallout from FAMU: Ga. high schools suspend bands

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:02
"If the video is from 2007 then are these kids now possibly band members at FAMU"

That's exactly what I was wondering.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

In my opinion. The SWD Band Director and Principal, the Area Superintendent, the county Band Director and Ms. Tyson should resign immediately. The fact that the majority of these crimes, and that what it is folks, CRIMES, went unexplained for months is enough rope to hang these "leaders".

Dr. Atkinson had no idea what she was getting herself into. I have a feeling that this Summer, when the Super search was in High Gear, this happened and went unreported to the public. How many DeKalb students have been in danger since the Summer? This is egregious and everyone involved in this mess should be shown the door.

I am so angry that it took a death, a broken leg and many threats to the victims before any of this came out. DeKalb County Schools is an accomplice to these CRIMES! Dr. Atkinson it's time to clean house. No more pay for these criminals that are teaching our kids how to become criminals in the name of making music!

It's time some Atlanta Hip Hop stars to get in front of this and tell the kids who look up to them that none of this is right and it needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

Southwest Dekalb Players play dirty in several sports as well. Two years ago our best friends son was delibertly elbowed in the left temple when he was defenseless comming down from taking a goal shot in a soccer game against them. Marist was winning something like 9-2. The kid and SW Dekalb was pissed that Marist was ahead. So this kid just violently assaulted our friends son. He suffered a fractured skull. He was lucky to live. His mother rushed him to Piedmont, where they took him into the ICU, he ended up having to have a plate put into his skull. Now he can never play any contact sports again.

Marist was taping this game. The Father pointed out to the Marist Coach how this was no accident. But when the Marist Coach went to talk to the SW Dekalb coach he met resistance.

Their is alot of Dirty violent behavior at SW Dekalb. All sanctioned by the coaches, etc.. We almost lost a dear one because of these thugs. I would hold my child out of a game against them.

Anonymous said...

I raise the question: Why has no one else expressed concern about or commented on the type of people who could do this to others? Am I missing something here? Is it some sort of “sacred cow” to question what it is that has given rise to a culture that has seemingly embraced the physical beating of others? Why? To quote Robert Burns: “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.”

Not Buying It said...

Tough to get that "MARTA bus" tune out of your head after you've watched the Youtube video.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta Media Guy, what crimes are you referring to? Sounds like you may have had too much coffee. Let's see the results of the investigation and get more information before convicting anyone.

Anonymous said...

It appears that Dr. Atkinson has heard of some disturbing incidents and wants to develop guidelines and disciplinary measures for infractions. DeKalb could use some backing on the discipline front. Set the rules in place for everyone and stick to them. Not having tight disciplinary policies that are enforced for ALL DCSS schools has been unfair to the students who come to school every day to learn whether it’s math, music, art, science, etc.

Do anyone have access to the DCSS published policy for hazing? If you do, could you please share that link? If you don’t, then maybe there is not a published policy or maybe it is inadequate or not enforced.

This is the first disciplinary policy that I have read about Dr. Atkinson addressing. I support her because discipline is a HUGE issue for DCSS teachers and students. Her attempts to tighten up discipline will be met with much resistance on the part of one faction or another. This is a very good example of how that happens.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I've only had two cups of coffee. Maybe my rush to judgment on school officials being fired was inappropriate. However, I want to know what happened over the Summer. The crimes at FAMU are murder and assault and/or a threat of an assault! I'm sure there are others a lawyer could find. I mentioned that DCSS could be an accomplice to one of these crimes pending the investigation. How far will the investigation go? What has been going on at SWD and other schools to force a total ban on Marching Band activity?

The You Tube video is awful and I hope suspensions were handed out as well as plenty of mental health help. But the latest headlines from FAMU and the ties to SWD are disturbing. Did DCSS know about any "hazing" or assaults with the band at SWD back in 2007 as well as currently? Is there a systemic problem with all the bands? Could DCSS be held liable if they find that students have been hazed/assaulted?

I agree with previous posters, blaming the victims is ludicrous! Pardon the pun.

Exit question.... Where is the DCSS Police Farce? Are the two DCSS Police chiefs investigating this? What about Ramsey and his infamous ethics office? Were these folks turning a blind eye to something bigger? What did they find out after punishing the students for the 2007 video?

It's sad that a death and a beating had to take place to expose this. FAMU has been out front from the start, the President of FAMU lost his job as well as the Band Director right? Their once proud and very entertaining band has been tarnished for many years. You think MACY's will invite them to another parade in the near future?

What did DCSS leaders know back in 2007, is there more the public does not know? Were they aware that a problem persisted beyond the disrespect for women? I'm nervous about this System wide ban on Marching. Why punish all the schools because of one? Is there a bigger problem that has been kept under wraps? My 11 year old asked me today if he would be hazed if he continued to play in the band in High School?

It's a tough story to follow right now and I hope the investigation shines a light on the truth. I'm off to pour my third and final cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...[en].pdf

The discussion on hazing begins on page 17. We you look at the specifics, especially the updates with cyber bullying, it lets you know this behavior is not tolerated.

We shouldn't be naiive, hazing isn't limited to students. It happens all over and every day, especially in the workplace. This does not make it right but it is something our students see or hear about all the time.

If the FAMU incident caused someone to raise questions about that behavior occurring in DeKalb schools, it should be investigated. This is not really impacting marching band since that season is for the most part over. Hopefully this can be resolved quickly.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 11:23 AM

People get their legs broken and beaten to death every day in the workplace?

Anonymous said...

@AMG: Yep - turning a blind eye. The instrumental music dept. under Mr. Roberts' leadership needs to audited and evaluated top to bottom. He's much too busy with his other businesses to focus on the county's instrumental music program.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 11:44 AM

You mention extremes that don't happen every day with any hazing. I can say that some form of verbal assaults, teasing, public humiliation, social isolation, spreading rumors or some form of cyber stalking happens every day in the workplace. This is all considered hazing. Do you disagree about this?

Anonymous said...

No. What you describe could be called hazing. But this case in Florida is about broken legs and homicide. It seems like people are trying to act as if it's no different from 'hazing'. It is different.

Anonymous said...

This is where the Central Office gets itself in trouble:
"Creator of “DRUMLine Live“ Don Roberts gives direction to cast"
Don Roberts is now the instrumental coordinator for the DeKalb County School System and creator of the show “DRUMLine Live”.

Dallas Austin, producer of the 2002 movie “Drumline,” approached Roberts to consult for the film while researching bands in DeKalb County.

Roberts tweaked the concept for a theater setting and was picked up by Columbia Artists Management.

The 38-member cast of “DRUMLine Live” is currently working its way through a second U.S. tour and has completed two tours in Japan and Korea.

After working on the movie, Roberts said he knew he wanted to continue to bring the band experience to audiences.


This is great for Mr. Roberts, and I hope it has proved to be artistically and financially rewarding for him. Really, congrats to him!

But as we've seen with Yvonne Butler, Ralph Simpson, Morcease Beasely, and the worst offender, Ram Ramsey, when someone is an administrator for the DeKalb Co. School System, with second and third jobs, it should in no way affect the forty hour work week we expect from them and pay them for. And DCSS administrators are supposed to work 12 months a year.

I hope that Mr. Roberts' responsibilities for Drumline Live in no way interefere with his job duties as the instrumental coordinator for the school system. I hope that he does not spend one second during his work day, other than on his lunch, to do Drumline Live business, I hope he doesn't use a DCSS computer or DCSS phone to do so. Taxpayers pay him to be our system's instrumental coordinator. Period.

We've seen what happens when administrators like Yvonne Butler spend so much time out of the classroom during the school year to promote themselves, make money, etc. for other endeavors. Even while being paid full-time by DCSS. "Bookgate" only became a public scandal because we here on this blog pushed it (

Anonymous said...

Hearing about the multiple jobs a number of the DCSS elite hold reminded me of the following characters!

"Hey Mon!"

Anonymous said...

Off the subject, but since this thread discussed videos, here is a link to an uplifting video a young girl made that Maureen Downey is featuring in one of her posts:

What a contrast to the band video someone posted the link to. The itonlytakesagirl video talks about respect for females while the Marta video shows quite the opposite.

Leo said...

I have no issue at all with the Superintendent suspending all band activities outside of school without authorization from the Central Office. If a limited investigation has revealed problems within our band program which potentially extends to leaders of those programs and to multiple schools, it certainly makes sense to take it seriously, uncover what's really happening while ensuring that at least for a little while it doesn't continue and then resume these activities as schools that are cleared (which will happen quickly, I imagine).

There's been hazing within a variety of extracurricular activities at schools for a long time, but right now the spotlight is on the band. I'd rather see discipline being taken seriously by our leadership than a willingness to continue to turn a blind eye to the severe conduct issues which permeate many of our schools.

Cerebration said...

Another article on the topic:

DeKalb halts marching band activities, launches full-scale investigation

Anonymous said...

Anybody heard about the riots/events at Arabia Mountain High School today? 2 food fights, 8 fights, 1 bathroom fire, 1 flooded bathroom, 20 police cars, EMT's, swat teams, etc. Kids were tasered, handcuffed and arrested.

I just got a calling post call from the principal and she somewhat minimized the incidents. I am concerned for my son's safety tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Heard a rumor that Tyson and Atkinson testified in front of the DeKalb County grand jury today, and there are board members on the docket for tomorrow. Can anyone confirm? Does anyone know why?

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Arabia Mountain? Isn't that the Theme School? Are you sure it wasn't the annex at Lithonia High, where they had the trouble earlier in the year between the Lithonia students and the annexed students?

Trouble at Arabia really disturbs me. The old leadership sure did leave the new Super with a mess to clean up. Today and tomorrow are the last two days of the semester. My kids have been taking finals, were finals interrupted at Arabia? If so, were the students able to complete the tests? Will the students effected and the troublemakers get a chance to make up their finals missed, due to the disturbance? Where is the DCSS Police?

Anonymous said...

Trouble at Arabia Mtn. High, not the annex, should not come as a surprise. The outward appearance of AMHS that the county (and New Birth) so carefully maintains is a cover for a poorly run school with incompetent administration . . . Monica Black for example. Don't let the pretty wrapping fool ya - underneath is a present most of you would never want your children to be part of if you peered beneath the GREEN (such a joke) ribbons.

Anonymous said...

Arabia Mtn. has a weak, incompetent new principal with no experience in the classroom. I'm sure this was not well-handled from a control/authority perspective.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta Media Guy:

Per my son:
This happened at Arabia Mountain High School campus today between students and faculty. Today it all started at C Lunch with a food fight. Then it elevated to the next lunch with a food fight. From there a trash can was set on fire, and then a bathroom was flooded. Then numerous fights between students. Then at the end of the day, a near riot occured outside where students were met with a large number of DCPD officers as seen in this picture:

This lead to a student being tazored.

As far as the finals, we missed a final today due to a lockdown. So tomorrow we will resume with final exams, in four classes.

Anonymous said...

Arabia Mountain Anonymous 5:42 PM:

You have problems. This principal does not have the kick ass skills required to deal with the area parents and thug culture at this school. Don’t believe me? Just see if she puts her foot down and reads the riot act to the offending thugs and their protective parents. Unfortunately this lady wears rose colored glasses and administers in the same way. This principal was very deficient at her previous school and should be eliminated from the school system.

Welcome to the DCSS jobs program. We pay taxes for this BS?

Anonymous said...

WTF? DCSS Thug Culture at its best . . . South DeKalb, keep on voting for those special BOC members you cherish.

Anonymous said...


Atkinson requested the board amend her contract so she would stop receiving her $750-a-month car allowance, according to school spokesman Walter Woods,

“There are district fleet vehicles here, so if she uses her personal vehicle and those vehicles she’s not going to need a car allowance,” Woods said. “It’s going to save the district in the long run–$750 a month for the next three years.”

Additionally, the board approved the hiring of search firm Ray and Associates, which the system previously used in its superintendent search, to find a new chief operating officer (COO) to replace Barbara Colman, who recently retired.

Woods said Carlton Parker is the interim COO until the system is able to hire a permanent one. He said the approved contract will allow the board to pay up to $20,000 to Ray and Associates for the national search.

During the meeting, the board also voted to continue providing legal defense for seven former board of education members and one current member, Sarah Copelin-Wood, named in the lawsuit against construction firm Heery/Mitchell.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 6:36

Monica Blackis the assistant principal for instruction, not the principal.

Anonymous said...

Do you believe everything your child says? Before you start posting misinformation check your facts not twitter. A dditionally, you can always exercise your choice. Your child can always return to his or her home school if you are so unhappy with the administration and staff at AMHS.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

A school goes into lockdown.
A student is tazored.
There is a fire, flood and food fights but there is nothing about his on any news source. I can't find anything in the AJC.

Dekalb police involved but no DCSS police? Why? What's up?

Is everyone distracted by the band ban until further notice? I don't get it. In any other news market a school in lockdown and student being tazored would be the lead on on the TV News. Hope we can get more info on what's happening at Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Hazing is rampant in Dekalb County. First, it starts with the sororities and fraternities converting clubs into promoting their favorite fraternity and sorority by allowing students to wear their colors as a high school club. Then these students inherit the feelings of wanting to belong, so they join or pledge organizations based on what they have observed in high school;so once they enter college, they have had some form of high school hazing experience by being in the band which touts over into college.
As a parent, I think if students are not allowed to wear clothing with emblems or etc,,, then why do we see so many teachers and principals on the south end draped in their fraternity colors and sorority colors during work hours.Kids are observing this kind of behavior so when they go off to college, they think being hazed is the only way to belong to the most popular fraternity or sorority.Dr. Atkinson needs to ban wearing this kind of attire from elementary staff, middle, and high school. Stop encouraging students to think that in order to belong to an organization, you must cross the burning sands or be hazed brutally to say that you are a Real frat or Real Sorority sister in public. Because behind closed doors, it is not that way.

Anonymous said...

Is Atkinson returning the $750/month car allowance she drew while she had a security guard from the Palace drive her around for several months in Pat (Pope) Reid's vehicle from school to school every day? Wouldn't that be considered double-dipping in most worlds? And using a staff member as a chauffeur to boot? Wasn't he being paid to perform a job at the central office every day? She needs to reimburse the district for the money she received while she used a county vehicle already. Woods makes it sound like she's some kind of martyr. She's as dirty as CLew. Mark my words. The board needs to start digging into her behavior before it is too late.

Cerebration said...

I'm sure the money for the car allowance will be returned if she didn't use her own car. It would only be for 2 or 3 months anyway. Compared to Lewis and Pope's (purported) millions in fraud, that's just lunch money. This is not the same thing at all. Don't start that kind of comparison. We watch Dr. Atkinson's leadership pretty closely and she's not given us a reason to lose hope for a better future. Hopefully, we won't have to suffer the likes of a Lewis or Pope ever again.

Anonymous said...

Where is Earnest Brown in all of this? His kids attend Arabia Mtn. He was pretty loyal to CLEW LEWIS and enjoys attention.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 10:22 pm

Dr. Atkinson cannot be compared with Lewis, and she's not a miracle worker. Hopefully, she'll continue to meet with teachers to see what they need for students to be successful. We never saw Lewis or Tyson do this.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Dekalb County bands were to perform this weekend and that there were a number of colleges that would be awarding scholarships at this event. For example, Alabama A&M will award 5 scholarships.

The event will happen, but Dekalb students will not have the opportunity to compete for those scholarships. It just seems like this is a shotgun blast that is aimed at the guilty, but the innocent are also punished. There must be another way.

Anonymous said...

There is no comparison with what Dr. Atkinson is doing compared to Tyson or Clew. Just hope and pray that Ernest Brown doesnot get her ear. He is a trouble maker!

Anonymous said...

Atlanta Media Guy--hitting on all cylinders on media blackout for Arabia. They will not publish anything bad within 5 miles of the South River. All in the plan, man.

Anonymous said...

If you are an Arabia Mt. High School parent and your child told you about today's frightening incidents, please e-mail the AJC's Mo Downey! The Central Office is doing everything it can to keep today's events quiet.

Anonymous said...

yes--send to Downey--then wait and see. Good test on how the AJC chooses to handle the blackout on South River news--except the fact that we are paying dearly to clean it up.
Who was the school really built for--the river and the land near it? Certianly not the people currently living in middle-income homes with depressed prices.

Anonymous said...

My experience with high schoolers is that they always have their phones with them. If this really happened at Arabia Mt, I am guessing there is "taped" evidence that will surface shortly. I have a hard time believing that none exists.

Anonymous said...

Wow, in a metro area with over 100 public and private high schools, it is interesting that some here think that a food fight should be a lead news story. I don't know what happened at Arabia Mountain or any school with similar incidents but I would have to believe given cameras all over the place, the perpetrators can be easily identified and dealt with appropriately. Are some of you so hungry for news that you want to know that little Susie was suspended for throwing her fruit cup in the lunchroom?

Must not be enough bad school news around for some on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 6:30am

When little Susie a 5' 6 200 lb dancin' diva hurls a fruit cup, it's no laughing matter. And what innocent food fight have you seen that required the mobilization of the county's police force.

Arabia Mountain was/is a "bait and switch" school that now houses the best of the best! LOL

Looks like their students are prime recruits for FAMU!

This event along with recent other DCSS revelations is a gushing well of comic material that will never be depleted.

Buckle up Dr. A, it's going to be a bumpy ride!

Anonymous said...

It just keeps getting better and better! Hot off the press:

A mother in DeKalb County wants answers after her 11-year-old told her another parent came into his classroom and headbutted him.

Told you DCSS is a never ending well of comic material!

Anonymous said...

And the guy on the video is an elementary school teacher. Uhgggg. I don't know how he passed his hazing training. The point is not that students should avoid trying to be a part of the "in" crowd, but rather that the "in" crowd should not use violence as an entry. WOW! He is sooooo off the mark. I wouldn't want him as a teacher in my school.

Cerebration said...

FWIW, all it appears these bands had to do was 'ask' to participate in the Battle of the Bands. Certainly it would have been approved. Instead, their directors just canceled.

The memo states that you just need approval:

If there is an after school band performance or practice scheduled within the next 30 days, you must receive approval from Ms. Kendra March, Deputy Superintendent in order to proceed. This does not apply to Band classes during the instructional day.

If it's really important, then the band directors should have gone to bat for these kids and asked permission.

Anonymous said...

Cerebration, if I were a band director, I'm not sure if I'd want to ask permission after receiving a memo like the one sent out.
The memo was terse and clear!


I'd not sure what the long term "cost" to me would be for garnering permission. I don't like to be beholding to anyone or having someone having a degree of leverage over me.

I could see the conversation going something like this:

"Remember the time we let you take your band to blah, blah, blah? Now we need you to do this blah, blah and blah?"

Does that make any sense?

Anonymous said...

It is about time someone shone the light on AMHS. Ask the Annex crew about the teacher's suicide last year - also covered up. Ask about how many teachers have fled from the Annex AND the Castle, many quality educators leaving public education altogether. Ask about the 'rigor' (e.g. busy work). The curriculum is a joke. Ask about the bullying from the admin. New Birth has the upper hand in this school. Since its' inception the corruption of the AMHS admin and friends has somehow escaped public scrutiny. Keep digging, but be prepared - you're likely to need a biohazard suit to deal with what you uncover. I've heard they make them in pink and green or red and white.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I wasn't talking about just the food fight. I was talking about a student being tasered by a cop, a lockdown in a school that is part of a district that just suspended Marching Band operations due to a death and assault at FAMU and a parent head butting a student in a DeKalb class room. In most TV markets all those stories would be news. Welcome to Atlanta Dr. Atkinson!

Anonymous said...

Lynetrice Preston's son Keyondre is a fourth-grade student at Allgood Elementary School in Stone Mountain. Keyondre told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri another student's father came into his class Friday and asked for him.

"He put his hands behind my back like this and hit me on the head like that," Keyondre told Napier Viteri.

Anonymous said...

Sosme nice positive DCSS news:

The Atlanta Hawks have chosen a school for students with disciplinary histories for an improvement project to encourage reading.

The DeKalb Alternative School, which serves fourth through 12th graders expelled from their home schools, got a reading area Thursday as a result of being picked for the team's "Reading Zone Makeover."

Anonymous said...

"But Critney and other Southwest DeKalb High parents fear their children will suffer as part of the fallout."

Well call the Whahhhbulance. It sure's the h_LL wasn't the Clarkston High School Marching band responsible for this mess!

Anonymous said...

The whole SWD band world is a mess. Minor hazing is nothing new.

One funny thing is how alumni, and even some parents, will hang out on game days, pretend they are helping to move band equipment, and get into football games for free. It's a slap in the face for the parents who volunteer their time on game days and actually work pretty hard, as it's a big production.

Anonymous said...

OK fellow bloggers, what is or what is meant by "Turnup Thursdays"?

When AMHS was googled, this term showed up buried in Tweets related to the school and incident yesterday.

Here is the link:

Check in out and see if this appears to be something planned and orchestrated rather than an act of just impulsive teens.

Something to ponder for sure!

Anonymous said...

Ohhh baby, it's a goldmine! The link to WhoTalking

has pages and pages and pages of Tweets with names,tags, monickers, and more of current students at AMHS that seem to have first hand knowledge of what went down at AMHS.

Many of the comments reflect the following sentiment:

"Monica Black did not survive Thurnup Thursday."

Gotta love social media!

AMHS parents, like SWD parents really have something to be proud of!

Whose riding Marta now? Hah

Anonymous said...

Here is an example of what can be found on the previously posted link:

HoesCallMeKeem : #TurnUpThursday In Dis Bitch like Im finna start a food fight, flood da bathroom, set shit on fire, and hit Black wit trays.
1 day ago - Via - Reply - Retweet - Favorite - View

Anonymous said...

What is Turnup Thursday?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:56 see Anonymous 4:00

The question has been asked and we are all waiting for further clarification!

Good grief!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could be a fly on the wall when these so-called students (teen thugs is who they really are!)are rejected by the college of their choice or rejected for a coveted job -- all because a decision-maker googled their names.

Ghetto. There is no other word to describe the trash talk by AMHS inmates published on Who Talking.

As my grandmother used to say, "Birds of a feather flock together." So true! And that is what admissions officers and future employers will think, too.

Anonymous said...

In any other school system in other place in Georgia, this event would be covered by the media. Especially given the large police presence and the apparent damage to public property.

It's disgusting that no one knows about this!!! No one was aware of this incident at other schools today!

Think other schools could have used extra security to prevent copycat incidents?

Think teachers should have been aware so they could help control minor flareups that could escalate?

Hell no! But all band activities in the county have been suspended. Don't we all feel safer!?!?

Maybe if it weren't made public Dekalb wouldn't have to make the federal and state report of the incident.

Just think about it, Arabia Mountain is the "premier" school in Dekalb (Whodathunk you'd read that word again!) It's Dekalb's jewel. God forbid it got out that such an incident occured at a Premier Dekalb school!

Anonymous said...

_foreverlatia : RT @_KingKessiah: Lmfao, my APWH teacher said "Thanks to #TurnUpThursday, today is #EatLunchInTheClassroomFriday"

Anonymous said...

The following is a sampling of what is on Twitter tweeted by Arabia's finest students:

christy_cook Christiana Keyara ♥
Ain't no school on Arabia level. 12 fights , 2 food fights , 16 police cars , 5 riots , trash can on fire , an 1 pipe bursting.
15 Dec

OOh_thatsyoman BOSS :)
15 Dec

Food Fight

vaaannnti javanti yvonne. ♥
and who fucking cares that were not like any other school? we know. getting into fights everyday & food fights won't get you into college.
15 Dec

vaaannnti javanti yvonne. ♥
15 Dec

vaaannnti javanti yvonne. ♥
bathrooms on fire.
15 Dec

vaaannnti javanti yvonne. ♥
and now somebody fighting.
15 Dec

_iloveadriana Adriana Smith
nobody can call Arabia lame no more.
15 Dec
Retweeted by @vaaannnti

ericaxoxo_ Ebaby ;)
Omg , We on lockdown , the bathrooms flooded , we had a food fight , somebody pulled the alarm . Arabia outta control !!!!
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply
Retweeted by @christy_cook

Flooded Restroom

christy_cook Christiana Keyara ♥
15 Dec

Evan_Allsmiles Evaaaaan 
👏👏👏 good job Arabia! Proud of y'all .
15 Dec

Imjustthatdude Noah Jackson
~ Bruh that was the biggest food fight ever !!!!!
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply
Retweeted by @christy_cook »

BossedBitch_ ..KnoDat (=_=)...
Lmaoooo food fight in c lunch
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply
Retweeted by @christy_cook »

christy_cook Christiana Keyara ♥
It's bittersweet tho because I would have been so mad if something go in my hair.
15 Dec

ItalieLovesYou italie milove 
Dr.McMillan STFU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply »

Jessy_Wessie Jessyca Willis
Best Day Ever at Arabia !!
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply
Retweeted by @ItalieLovesYou »

ItalieLovesYou italie milove 
Tweet tweet tweet tweet !!!! These administrators aint gone do nothing !
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply »

OVOParisMorton Paris Morton
Shit got real at arabia today.
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply
Retweeted by @ItalieLovesYou »

ItalieLovesYou italie milove 
Awwwwwww other people at other schools mad cause they ain't get accepted into Arabia ? Haha how cute !
15 Dec Favorite Retweet Reply »

IamKardo Sports+Women=Life
My nigga italie turnin up!

_ScreamDADDY Stalker O_o
next semester them administrators gone be tripping like fuck !
15 Dec

_THEfinesseEra Cedra Finesse ((: ♥
Like , what da fuck. if you mad Arabia trending & we turnt the fuck up. THEN TAKE YO ASS TO SLEEP ! All that extra is bullshit.
15 Dec

ItalieLovesYou italie milove 
If you never gave a fuck , SHUT UP ! cause we don't give two fucks . You can swallow some balls and pubic hair for all we care .
15 Dec

Anonymous said...

This website was shared on the GetSchooled blog. Someone has done a good job of documenting hazing related deaths over the years. To pretend this does not happen or that most don't know about it is disingenious. The code of silence has been in effect for a long time.

Anonymous said...

The comments that were made by the young man were not only insensitive, but were down-right ignorant. He is in denial and trying to make excuses for the individuals that were involved in criminal behavior. That is so sad. I am a retired teacher and is embarassed by him.

Anonymous said...

We have two schools systems in Dekalb. Administrators on the south end are placed by friendship, frats, sororities and church affiliations.
The females administrators are the worst! Take a poll vote. They enjoy black balling teachers who will not dance to their music or suck up to them. They put teachers on PDP, yet, when most of them were in the classrooms, they didnot teach, had problems with students, and most didnot come to work.
CLEW and Calloway opened the gate and the south end of the county has been a mess ever since. Then, Dr. Atkinson, not understanding that giving them power will only increase their level of feeling important.
As a volunteer, it is disturbing to see how these female principals on the south end keep up so much foolishness and favortism in their schools.
Then, volunteer on the north end of the county, you will not see this. Let us pray that in January, Dr. Atkinson will move these female principals out the door. They keep the morale at such a low point. The fireside chat allowed teachers to call names of assistant principals and principals who lack management. Let us pray that she will read the information that each teacher shared and move these female principals that CLEW promoted and Callaway.

Anonymous said...

Let see, you have a new superintendent and she makes a few moves and you think that things are ok...listen she has to looko at what is going on from the D.A. OFFICE. SHE HAS TO LOOK AT YOUR PERSONNEL AND MARCUS TURK..THEN SHE HAS TO LOOK AT HUMAN RESOURSE which would include Jamie Wilson and Takeshia Smith. If you dont do something about these people then you know something is wrong.

Anonymous said...

So what happens with this Turk person....heard he did not cooperate with the D.A. Investigation an is sill in place....he needs to go. Or is his mother still pulling strings.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is so true. Teachers leave the county due to the female principals that they work under. They threatened teachers using their evaluations or when teachers try to transfer, they call the principals at other schools in DCSS and tell lies. Or, in some cases, will not give teachers a good recommendation to move else where within the county.Several of these women are personal friends we are told of CLEW.The county office is full of females who fall under the umbrella of hazing staff members. Hazing is misconduct in the professional world of DCSS by not promoting female staff members who are not willing to be talked down to or have their own voice.
At one DCSS, teachers pass out on a daily basis from being hazed by the female principal, the ambulance is called to this school at least once a month, by CLEW's special friend. Transfer season is in; but teachers, remember, if you are not in the click, your name will be passed around to the other female principals on the south end of the county.Or, during their county meeting. These female principals on the south end are notorious for black balling other females who will not idolized them.

Anonymous said...

Who is Turk's mother?

What kind of strings can she pull?

Who is she?

Anonymous said...

A crowd of people broke down the door to the Mall at Stonecrest Friday in anticipation of the release of Nike retro Air Jordan sneakers.

DeKalb County police said one woman was arrested and three others were detained for questioning.

Police said the woman left her two children, aged 2 and 5, in her car while she went inside the mall. Witnesses said she was in line to purchase a pair of the $180 Nike Air Jordan “Concords.”

What is our county coming to?
No wonder we have issues in our schools, look at our parents!
Leaving kids in car for freakin' shoes! GMAFB

Anonymous said...

Catherine Turk was the Executive Director for Secondary education in DCSS (also Area Administrator and Regional Superintendent) under Crawford Lewis. Marcus Turk was promoted to head of Finance by Lewis while his mother was in upper management in DCSS.

As the current Ronald M. Simon Family Foundation Atlanta branch program coordinator, Dr. Catherine Turk still has connections with DCSS through this foundation. She is also on many other councils and boards.

It's always about friends and family.

Anonymous said...

Marcus Turk's mother is Catherine Turk, former Executive Director of Secondary, Area Administrator and Regional Superintendent under Crawford Lewis. Marcus Turk received his promotion to head of Finance while his mother was in Crawford Lewis's Cabinet (upper management team).

Dr. Turk is now Program Director of the Simon Foundation, an educational foundation:

She is on many councils and boards.

DCSS is always about friends and family.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Republicans have redistricted Georgia's elction districts, the stage is set for them to get the 2/3 majorities they need to change the state constitution. There will probably be no white Democrats left. Places like Clayco, south Dekalb, south Fulton, and south Atlanta will lose out big time, because they will no longer be able to spend other people's money so wastefully. Unfortunateley, the blacks have brought a lot of this on themselves with all of the corruption in places like DCSS. I'm afraid that recent events like the mass chaos at Arabia (someone should really talk to teachers about how bad it really was)and at Stonecrest are just a foreshadowing of what will come down the road, as the black areas of the metro get worse and worse.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the youtube video and am beyond disgusted. I taught for many years in the SWD area and always bragged about how talented the members of the band were. Now, I will never again hold them in high regard. What kinds of adults are raising (and directing) these thugs?

Anonymous said...

SWD has truley gone to Hades in a handbasket. The school still has the person picked by Crawford to be principal. Atkinson needs to change out all of the principals, starting withe ones Crawford put in just a couple of years ago. The man even gave some of them 10,000 extra!!

Anonymous said...

Not only has SWD gone to HADES, the elementary and middle schools too. People agree that Dr. A. should replace all principals that CLEW hired and Calloway. Plus , replace all of the ones recommended by Debbie White along with her sorors.

Anonymous said...


I agree with you all the way about Dr. Atkinson removing all principals from their positions! Doing so would send an excellent message to everyone in DeKalb County School System. Here is one of Crawford's pet principals. This person was at Avondale High School and moved to Cross Keys High School. SHE SHOULD NOT BE A PRINCIPAL. Read this e-mail she sent to her staff. How in the world can someone know 2 weeks in advance whether someone will die in their family or whether they will have a heart attack and be put in the hospital. How stupid! Please, Dr. Atkinson, change out these principals with new blood!

The faculty attendance rate is declining (see attached report). It is imperative for all faculty/staff to report to work daily. Below you'll find a copy of Cross Keys attendance policy (page 3 of the Teacher Handbook):
Approval must be granted before an absence. Calling the sub line does not excuse you from work. You should complete a Statement of Leave form and submit to Ms. Butler two weeks before any absence. In cases of emergency, Dr. Wilson must be called immediately (678-898-4576) and notified (regardless of the time). You should also notify your department chair and the main office (if during school hours).
If you plan to be absent, you must receive permission first. You receive permission by
1. Submitting a Statement of Leave form,
2. Principal signs the form, and
3. You receive the form back with the principal's signature approving the absence.
Statement of Leave forms can be found in the main office.
Eight to ten teachers are absent on a daily basis.
Absences increase on Fridays and Mondays. In order to improve our school, we need everyone here on a daily basis. Subs cannot replace your outstanding instruction.
Questions about this policy? Please stop by the principal's office. Thanks!
Tasharah Wilson, Ed.D
Cross Keys High School
1626 N Druid Hills RD NE
Atlanta, GA 30319
(678) 874-6102 Main Office
(678) 874-6110 Fax

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas everyone. Ummm, I'm a little confused. Of course any employee in any workplace setting can have an emergency, and as I read the principal's memo, I clearly see the reference to protocol for emergencies -- which doesn't include advance notification. In fact, the policy summarized in the principal's memo is not that different from my own employer's.

As a parent of a child in this system who suffers greatly when his teachers are absent, I'm hard-pressed to find fault with the thoughts expressed by the principal. In fact, the teacher absences on tutoring days amount to a double-whammy, as that tutoring time is lost as well. As an aside, I've wondered if after-school tutoring time is something teachers are compensated for, particularly in a Title I school.

Anonymous said...

"Eight to ten teachers are absent on a daily basis."

In the Principal Wilson's defense, if she's being accurate, that's a lot of teachers missing school daily at Cross Keys.

Anonymous said...

The principal at SWD is a product of the school system. Top this! She proudly wears her pledging colors; red and white. On top of that foolishness, she allows her staff to who pledged in her sorority; to parade around in red and white. They use clubs as a means of promoting pledging; using colors of frats and sororities.
At other schools, elementary, middle, and high, the same kind of foolishness takes place. Yet, when the CRCT scores are posted, these administrators cannot explain what happened. Huh, maybe the county should start testing the students over the history of the sororities and fraternities. Well, apparently, the students and staff are more interested in which organization is the best. To make matters even worse, parents often wear their pledging attire to meetings to earn brownie points with the administrators, especially the female administrators on the south end.
Keep in mind, these female administrators were hired by their special friend; CLEW. Then by their sorority sisters; Callaway and Debbie White. Sad but true!
Hopefully now that Dr. A. is in office, this kind of sorority affiliation with the females will end especially since Debbie White has left the county, thank God.

Anonymous said...

The question of misconduct is rampant on the south end. Administrators lack proper training to lead their schools. Most of these administrators were hand picked for these positions due to their PERSONAL ties to CLEW. Most were females who moved up the rank in spite of knowing any thing about running a school.
Dr. Atkinson made a serious mistake giving principals the power to run their schools. Most of these administrators use their authority to bully teachers or anyone who will agree them or become their personal flunky. They spread lies to their friends when people are applying for jobs and make it hard for some teachers to become promoted to higher positions because most of the people hiring in the palace are their sorors. Or, the principals at other schools may be a soror or church member. Administrators on the south end of the county remind me of the mafia. I wish we could take a poll to see how many belong to same organization on the elementary, middle, and high. It would be very interesting.

KAA said...

@Anon 5:23 p.m. What is the problem with the email communication from the principal? The attendance policy was restated. Also, teachers where given instruction for what to do when an emergency exists. ....and as communicated in the end, a sub cannot replace the outstanding instruction of the teacher. Is that not what we all want for our children? If the principal is trying to support the academic achievement of students - why can't she be supported???? Also, it does not matter who hired her is she is doing a good job...

Anonymous said...

@Anon 5:23 p.m. What is the problem with the email communication from the principal? The attendance policy was restated. Also, teachers were given instructions for what to do when an emergency exists. ....and as communicated in the end, a sub cannot replace the outstanding instruction of the teacher. Is that not what we all want for our children? If the principal is trying to support the academic achievement of our students - why can't she be supported???? Also, it does not matter who hired her if she is doing a good job...As a parent a the school, I think the principal is doing a good job.

Anonymous said...

When is Crawford Lewis and Pope going to jail? It is interesting to know what was found on his hard drive.
I bet this will tell the story of the number of female Personal thank you invitations for the administrators who are now sitting in the seat of a principal. OMG

Anonymous said...

As a matter state law, a principal cannot ask a teacher what her personal business is when she asks for a personal day:

"No grant of approval for an absence permitted under this Code section shall be conditioned upon disclosure of the specific purpose for which such absence is sought, nor shall any such grant of approval be withheld or denied because of the failure or refusal of personnel to disclose the specific purpose for which such an absence is sought; provided, however, that personnel may be requested to state whether the absence is sought under the category of 'person"

(Georgia Code - Education - Title 20, Section 20-2-851)

Any attempt to ask a teacher to disclose the reason for a personal day should be reported to the DeKalb ethics hotline. Principals must follow state laws, rules and regulations when it comes to teacher absences.

Even if Dr. Wilson has been told by upper management to get her absences down, she cannot break state regulations to do so.

Here are the state of Georgia sick leave regulations.

Anonymous said...

A reason must be given for accounting purposes (i.e., sick, personal, professional, bereavement, jury duty). Now, the specific details for the teacher's absent may not be given, but if the teacher chooses to then he/she may provide more detail. However, since teachers earn the certain type of days - (sick, personal) the general reason must be given. Also, teachers are only allowed 2 personal days per year....sick days will be based on what has been earned. If the teacher use beyond the allotted/earned days, payment for the days will be deducted from his/her check. Further, if a teacher is out more than 3 consecutive days, a doctor's note must be provided. Obviously when someone is sick or an emergency arises, the absence is understood....but, just taking days because you have them is not the purpose of the given days.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that someone is finally doing something about this. Hazing is taking pace in all these type of bands that replicate them. Someone needs to now start looking at the ones in Clayton County.

Anonymous said...

....also, personal days can be denied a certain times (critical days), and sick days can require a doctor's note at certain times (during critical days)....

Anonymous said...

School districts throughout the country are going through major transformations and DSCC is also moving in another direction. I will speak from my experience with DCSS, specifically Southwest DeKalb High School, and relocating from the east coast where the school system is smaller and the resources are managed differently. Many of the teachers and administrators (working in all school districts) do not conduct themselves like adults. Too much nepotism and cliques are ruining the DCSS. Many of the students are reacting to what they see and hear from their interactions and relationships with adults they spend several hours a day with.
My daughter enjoyed her years as a member of the SWD Band in 2002-2006. Like all organizations/associations/sororities the folks in "power" take it to another level of empowerment. I personally believe the hazing started at the high school level and to keep a tradition going, regardless of how insane it is, has taken on another life that includes too much violence and suffering. It's sick.
Parents should know what they kids are doing and how they are conducting themselves in any organizations, especially know who you kids are spending time with in high school. When students are away at college, we can only hope they will make the right decisions when we send them off to college. I know one of the three FAMU band students who were recently arrested for allegedly beating and breaking the leg of a SWD alum. His parents are good people; I cannot imagine what was going on in his mind to participate in hazing and how his family is feeling about their son. I will not ever be able to feel the pain of Champion Family who lost their son to this insanity. An adult(s) knew this behavior was going on and chose to look the other way to avoid taking a stand for what is right and now there are so many causalities. My tenure as an active parent at SWD HS is coming to an end in 2013. This second time has been challenging to say the least.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 6:39 pm

" Also, teachers are only allowed 2 personal days per year...."

That statement is not true. You need to read the Georgia law on that.

Georgia Code - Education - Title 20, Section 20-2-851
"During any school year, personnel may utilize up to a maximum of three days of any accumulated sick leave for the purpose of absenting themselves from their duties for personal or professional reasons..."