Vote of No Confidence for Principal of Napa High School, Annie Petrie
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Vote of No Confidence
Ms. Annie Petrie, Napa High School Principal (March 27, 2017)
We are requesting the NVUSD Education Board of Directors to call for a Vote of No Confidence for Napa High School Principal Annie Petrie and to direct Dr. Patrick Sweeney to relieve her of her duties as Principal at Napa High School. We are also asking the teacher’s at Napa High School to cast a vote of No Confidence of Annie Petrie through the CTA-California Teachers Association (Union). We the community of Napa have lost our trust in Annie Petrie and we have no confidence her ability to lead Napa High School. We believe she does not demonstrate leadership skills needed to problem solve, lead a faculty and follow ethical code of conduct in her role as Napa High School’s Principal. Ms. Petrie is not advocating for her students or her staff and her lack of leadership and care of students is damaging not only the morale of the students but the teachers as well. She has created a hostile work environment for some of her staff and an increasingly stressful environment for the students without providing them with requisite support and care.
Formal complaints are being filed with the NVUSD Compliance Officer Alejandro Hogan, with a copy to the Department of Education State Superintendent of Education, Tom Torlakson, requesting an investigation of Annie Petrie’s conduct. Parents are concerned by her lack of leadership skills and her failure to demonstrate a “Duty to Act” to ensure students and families are provided with education about hazing, especially since this occurred with Spirit Leaders in 2015. On the contrary, she kept it quiet and did no education at all regarding hazing when she learned this had occurred. Since that time 3 additional hazing incidents have been reported and she still has not provided any communication to families, students, or faculty as to what hazing is, what behaviors are associated with hazing and what consequences are aligned with those behaviors. In addition to this failure to educate about the hazard of hazing, she was not consistent in her management of the spirit leaders and football players hazing incidents. Additionally, there has been no action at this point to the student’s involved in the latest reported hazing incident in March 2017. Ms. Petrie is inconsistent with her process to assess issues and situations, in problem solving and assigning fair discipline. She is leading with the mindset of guilty until proven innocent. It is our belief that Annie Petrie is not leading the school with a student- centric mindset, nor leading to ensure due process to for all students regardless of race or gender, when a discipline situation arises. She had signed off on excessive discipline for students that have clean discipline records, high academic achievement and are productive students in honors / AP classes. She is not communicating with parents or students and has directed her faculty to not communicate with parents on any issues related to hazing, mascot, discipline and football coaches not being
re-hired. Our children are no longer comfortable at school with her, and they don’t trust her. Most importantly, parents and students have lost respect for her.
The NVUSD School Board has been informed, by several Napa community members, of the following information they believe to be mistakes / violations and this document is a formal request to investigate. Our goal is to ensure if these types of behaviors are occurring within NVUSD they will stop and accountability occurs.
o Violation of CPSEL: California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders
o Violation of NVUSD Board Policy: 4219.21 (Ethical Standards – Code of Conduct)
Principal Annie Petrie signed off to suspend 9 students with neither reading statements, conducting the investigation herself nor validating the data and recommendation that was given to her by Dr. Sweeney.
She implemented suspensions without following procedural steps to ensure the families had an opportunity to respond. She also attempted to suspend a student that had never been identified by the investigator to be present at the site and date of the incident. Parents had to escalate this issue and then it was learned his name was placed on the list as a “clerical” error.
o Violation of NVUSD Board Policy: 4319.23 (Personnel Unauthorized release of Confidential / Privileged Information)
She was aware that student’s names in investigative statements were not redacted and as a result a minor’s identity was released.
o Letter sent to NHS Football student athletes and families dated, 3/2/2017 sent on 3/26/2017:
Ms. Petrie stated in a letter that identified victims of the hazing situation received support from the Napa County Victims Assistance. She goes on to infer this was done on behalf of Napa High which is not true. She is not being honest and is making inaccurate statements to protect her reputation.
There were two investigations in November being run separately but parallel in timing: NVUSD and Napa Police department. The police did reach out to some reported victim families to affirm their information and ask for statements. They were obligated to share information with the families of support services available. Napa High has yet to talk to the parents collectively or individually about the hazing incidents nor offer any discussion groups to the affected students and their families.
NVUSD hired an investigator to identify victims and yet no contact was made with those families until 1/12/2016. On this date, Napa High reached out to football families (victims or not), stating now that the NVUSD investigation is over they were authorized to reach out to all football players to provide counseling services via phone. This was a completely inadequate response.
Under Ms. Petrie’s direction, the term, “victim” is being used in the strict sense of only those who were subject to hazing. In fact, parents can attest to that “victims” in this situation are each and every boy who was interviewed, pulled from class, forced to answered questions posed by Police Officers and Private Detectives. The NHS Administration didn’t protect them or offer them any assistance, hasn’t given them any opportunity to talk about this, and has not offered remediation or restorative practices. Instead, she has short-shifted this incident along with the enormous sense of loss when Coach Troy Mott resigned. Ms. Petrie has done nothing to help the many students of Napa High who are experiencing a tremendous feeling of stress, disappointment and abandonment from her actions.
Violation of EDN 48911. – Suspension Process
(a) The principal of the school, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools may suspend a pupil from the school for any of the reasons enumerated in Section 48900, and pursuant to Section 48900.5, for no more than five consecutive schooldays. (b) Suspension by the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools shall be preceded by an informal conference conducted by the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools between the pupil and, whenever practicable, the teacher, supervisor, or school employee who referred the pupil to the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools. At the conference, the pupil shall be informed of the reason for the disciplinary action and the evidence against him or her, and shall be given the opportunity to present his or her version and evidence in his or her defense.
(c) A principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools may suspend a pupil without affording the pupil an opportunity for a conference only if the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools determines that an emergency situation exists. “Emergency situation,” as used in this article, means a situation determined by the principal, the principal’s designee, or the district superintendent of schools to constitute a clear and present danger to the life, safety, or health of pupils or school personnel. If a pupil is suspended without a conference before suspension, both the parent and the pupil shall be notified of the pupil’s right to a conference and the pupil’s right to return to school for the purpose of a conference. The
conference shall be held within two schooldays, unless the pupil waives this right or is physically unable to attend for any reason, including, but not limited to, incarceration or hospitalization. The conference shall then be held as soon as the pupil is physically able to return to school for the conference.
Principal Petrie stated she was directed to suspend 10 students by Dr. Sweeney. During the suspension- expulsion meeting process she:
o Attempted to suspend and expel a student in error. Dr. Sweeney finally was forced to admit that there had been a clerical error and he should not have been on the list.
o Did not offer parents the opportunity to present their version of events or to provide evidence in their defense.
o Did not read any of the accusatory statements from students prior to suspending. Instead, during cross – examination at a student’s hearing Principal Petrie said she implemented what she was told to do by Dr. Sweeney without auditing or verifying any information.
Discrimination and Violation of the EDC sections in handling the Napa High School Football Team Hazing Incident:
o Discrimination based on gender as the boy’s punishment is excessive when comparing to other known hazing incidents at Napa High school in 2015.
o Ed Code: 48900, 48911 and 48915 – Expulsion and Suspension Procedures; Failure to follow the procedure which mandates requirements needing to be present in order for expulsion to be warranted:
Other means of correction are not feasible or have repeatedly failed to bring about proper conduct. (NO REMEDIATION WAS GIVEN NOR OFFERED)
Due to the nature of the act, the presence of the pupil causes a continuing danger to the physical safety of the pupil or others (EDN: 48915). (NO STUDENT HAS EVER BEEN SHOWN TO POSE A CONTINUING THREAT ON CAMPUS)
This information has been brought to Annie Petrie’s attention repeatedly by parents but she has proceeded with the expulsions, nor reversed her suspensions. She is therefore willingly and knowingly disregarding CDE code requirements.
o Violation of EDC sections 32282 and 32282.1 in failing to have a clear policy regarding hazing and failing to have implemented a Comprehensive Safety plan that includes an anti-hazing educational program for parents and students
o She did not implement her own NVUSD Threat Assessment and was unable to verify that any of the students posed a safety threat to themselves or others,
thus expulsion should never have been given as a consequence, only a suspension up to 5 days. The boys are now in week 12 of being suspended.
Lack of Care for Students:
Principal Petrie did not advocate for the empathy, care of students throughout the entire investigation process which commenced in November 2016. This lack of care for the safety climate at Napa High school during the last four months has been unconscionable. She has not been focused on the student; rather her focus has been simply to comply with direction given to her by NVUSD administration. She, Ms. Petrie not only failed to take care of our kids, instead she isolated them and teachers and has created a hostile learning environment.
o The students still have not been educated at Napa High as to what the NVUSD states hazing is, what behaviors are associated with it and the consequences aligned. No communication at all. No effort to help make this situation into a learning opportunity and allow two way discussions and provide the opportunity for questions to be asked, answers to be given and students to feel heard.
o Principal Petrie did not provide any counseling resources to students, staff, faculty, parents upon learning of football hazing accusations in 2016. Over 158 students were interviewed, many by police, then staff from the superintendent’s office and on-going interviews with a private investigator hired by the law firm representing NVUSD.
o Students were not given support at school when it was announced 26 coaches had resigned. There was no plan in place to help them work through their feelings of sadness, frustration, anger and the feeling of being overwhelmed
o Students who have been under prolonged suspension and whose names were not redacted and have learned their statements now have been viewed publically and sent to attorneys representing the NVUSD legal team are experiencing severe anxiety and signs of depression. Their parents are extremely concerned for them, and worried about their mental health and safety.
o The parents and students feel completely betrayed and abandoned by NVUSD. o Student morale is at an all-time low at Napa High. Over 20% of students have
signed a petition asking for their principal to step down. They feel betrayed and isolated since, to this day, no discussion about this situation has taken place. This goes against restorative practices, providing support to create a safe climate at school and this directly impacts the students’ engagement level, ability to participate in activities/academics at a high level and wanting to be a member of Napa High School.
o Students who were interviewed during December 2-13 were pulled from classes through call slips. They were pulled during finals to meet with investigators, which caused a major distraction not only to the student but to their classmates, who were now disrupted and concerned.
o Boys who were ultimately suspended were not told ahead of time to go to the district’s office. Instead, the district administration had them go to class and then individually pulled them from their classes to inform them of their suspensions. This callously and gratuitously exposed these boys to humiliation and peer rejection.
Napa High Football Returning Coaches Interviews Not Granted
o Ms. Petrie and Dr. Sweeney have stated that two of the current 26 football
coaches would not be granted an interview for to renew their coaching position with Napa High (after mandating that all coaches would be forced to reapply). Neither Ms. Petrie nor Dr. Sweeney has been able to provide an answer as to why they made this decision. All coaches had been previously cleared of any wrong doing by the NVUSD. The two coaches that were not allowed interviews for football are happen to be coaches of other NHS sports teams -Winter Wrestling as well as chaperons to student field trips. Both coaches are also on staff and have no conduct issues making the decision to exclude them from interviews for their football positions is perceived to be arbitrary and vindictive.
o Principal Annie Petrie stated in a staff meeting on March 21, 2017 that she supported all coaches to be re-hired. If that is the case, and she is the senior Administrator of all Napa High personnel then why can she not simply rehire them? Is there a hostile or improper work environment for Principal Petrie under Dr. Sweeney? Is Dr. Sweeney is over-stepping his bounds and preventing Ms. Petrie from being responsive to her students, coaches and teachers? Parents believe this to be the case and, consequently, Ms. Petrie is failing in managing her school effectively and is not the leader we so desperately need at this time.
For all the reasons stated above I have signed my name to the separately attached petition. Signed,
Concerned Member of the Napa Community
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