Reinstate GiGi Kearns' Position
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Since I'm a full-time working mother, I leave my children at their elementary school for after school program called PM SCOPE operated by Scope Education Services on Long Island, NY.
We had a wonderful Program Supervisor named GiGi Kearns who is a former police officer, but has been working for Scope for over 15 years. Students and parents love her dedication, care and kindness to children.
On May 22 2015, Scope conducted a safety lockdown operation, however there was an incident during the practice and Scope terminated GiGi's position a week later. NOTE: There was no written lockdown drill provided by Scope management office for Ms. Kearns and Dickinson Avenue Elementary School Scope staff to follow.
Below is the letter I sent out to all Scope parents who were left in the dark after GiGi was let go because Scope Education Services would not provide any information or answers questions to parents.
June 1, 2015
Dear Scope parents,
I'm sure you were as surprised as I was this past Friday when we received an email from Scope office about GiGi Kearns. I'm not sure if you have heard why she was let go, but this is what happened.
On Friday 5/22, PM Scope conducted a lockdown safety operation. My children have been in the Scope program since 2012, but I have never heard of they exercise that procedure before, and I was told today it was the first time Scope office requested.
I do not believe Scope office sent specific instructions or information to school staff and GiGi, but I heard the lockdown procedure was pretty standard and students were under the table and were supposed to follow the instructions by staff to practice safety.
When I picked up kids on that evening, GiGi told me my son was one of the boys goofing around, giggling, laughing and not listening during the lockdown and that made her upset.
Six boys were kept in the room while other students played during recess as GiGi wanted to teach them how important and serious the matter was. She used, as an example, the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School because one of the students mentioned “Sandy Hook” during the lockdown.
In order to make sense to this reference to these six boys, she showed pictures of Adam Lanza, as well as photos of parents crying at the incident. I asked my son and GiGi separately and was told by both of them that photos were nothing gruesome or violent to scare or shock children and I believe what they told me.
When GiGi told me about this, I was embarrassed by my son's behavior and did not feel she did anything wrong. I trust someone like GiGi who is a former police officer, who understands guidance, especially on safety and dealing with children to teach how to follow instructions. She explained the situation and reason very clearly why she did it and how she handled it.
However, one of these six boys mother did not take it well at all.
Apparently, this parent was very upset and angry with GiGi and she took an action by contacting the principal, Associate Director for Student Services, SCOPE Education Services then a Superintendent of the district.
Since this was the first time Scope operated the lockdown, there was no policy nor instructions. As a result, GiGi got blamed on her action and Scope terminated her as the Program Supervisor.
How do you feel about this?
As a parent of one of the students who misbehaved during the lockdown, and my husband personally knows one of the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victim, I feel this situation was mistreated and lead too quickly without fair investigation.
Everyone has different opinions and ways about teaching kids lessons and show how the world is today, but I do not feel GiGi did anything wrong. I'd rather thank her for correcting my son's misbehavior and guiding him why being safe is so important and he needs to understand that.
It's a dangerous world to be growing up today and I feel fortunate to have someone like GiGi who is a former law enforcement professional who understands and knows what to do. I feel completely safe to leave my children with her and it is important to me to do something to defend her action.
That's why I set up this online petition page. If you would like to have Scope office to reinstate GiGi's position, please sign.
You will see what a wonderful Supervisor GiGi has been to our children and how secure parents felt by reading comments left by Scope parents and others who personally know her.
Thank you for reading this letter. Your support and action are much appreciated. For someone like GiGi, I strongly feel we need to work together as a group and make a difference for us as parents and our children.
Please share this story if you feel Scope Education Services should reinstate GiGi's position.
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