Being in education for several years, my husband and I believe that it’s time for parents to hold school districts NATIONWIDE accountable to state, district and school protocol and the safety of all students. We also feel that Child Protective Services (CPS) should handle all cases of neglect and abuse NATIONWIDE should be properly handled in a timely fashion with follow-up to parents regarding the abuse of their child or children. Please take the time to read the incident report we forward to the Cedar Hill School District (modified for this petition). Please note that as of April 13, 2012, it will be two months that there has yet to be any information regarding reprimand of the Principal Mariani's negligence as an administrator and a counselor or the teacher Jonathan Mullins as an educator or any follow up from the local Child Protective Services. We would also like our petitioners to know that our daughter has been on honor roll her entire academic endeavor with no disciplinary record.
James & Dr. Monica Lewis
Our daughter Ms. AdJane’ A. Latimer junior at the high school was assaulted by her math teacher Mr. Jonathan Mullins on February 13, 2012 around or about 2:05pm-2:10pm during her 6th period math class. AdJane’ expressed her concerns to me and her father that evening and it was quite uncomfortable for her to discuss. She indicated that she placed her phone on her desk after entering class and settling in for instruction. She and another student (will not be disclosed because of being a minor) were asked by Mr. Mullins to put their phones away. AdJane’ indicated that Mr. Mullins struck the other student in the back of her head with his hand and again in the front of her face with papers in hand. The student then left the room to contact their mother regarding the situation. Mr. Mullins then noticed that AdJane’ had her phone on her leg and in turn struck her with an open hand on the left side of her face. She then asked him why he hit her. She stated that Mr. Mullins indicated that she didn’t put her phone away. He then nudged her in her back and she asked him not to touch her. She also stated that he stood in front of the class and stated why he did such an act. AdJane’ also indicated to us that her head hurt the rest of the day and that night.
I contacted AdJane’s Assistant Principal on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 regarding the matter. AdJane’ and the other student completed statements with the Assistant Principal. I contacted AdJane’ on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 during her lunch period via text and ask if she was ok and if Mr. Mullins apologized. AdJane’ responded that Mr. Mullins was out off campus and his wife was their substitute teacher during their 6th period math class. (Mr. Mullins was away at a baseball tournament and has return to his class every since).
My husband and I felt that Mr. Mullins wife being a substitute in his class was out of order being that an investigation was taking place. I called the school and left a message for Principal Tammy Mariani. I called the school again and spoke to Ms. Mariani regarding the incident. Ms. Mariani indicated that she was aware of the situation and felt that it was best for AdJane’ to be removed from Mr. Mullins classroom. I asked Ms. Mariani what was the protocol regarding handling Mr. Mullins; she indicated that he was off the campus pending the investigation (We have proof of this statement). I then asked Ms. Mariani if she was aware that Mr. Mullins wife was his substitute while he was out during the investigation. Ms. Mariani indicated that she was not aware. I expressed to her that I felt that Mrs. Mullins presence would cause duress to the students and a hostile environment if any of the students were in question regarding the incident for the investigation. Ms. Mariani indicated that she would look into the substitute as well and that she would also remove AdJane’ from his class and change her schedule to accomodate.
February 15, 2012, AdJane’ was very uncomfortable returning to her math class. Principal Mariani still had not made the change in AdJane’s schedule to be removed from Mr. Mullins class. I sent an e-mail to her counselor and the Assistant Principal regarding a change in her schedule. Her counselor indicated via e-mail that she would look into the matter as soon as she could. The counselor changed her schedule as soon as possible.
On February 16, 2012, AdJane’ contacted her father and I regarding her headphones being stolen and went to the school to inquire and filed an incident report with security. AdJane’ and I were then escorted to the school police office where we went into further detail regarding her headphones with and Officer. I mentioned to Officer how frustrated I was regarding the theft of her headphones and being assaulted by Mr. Mullins. The Officer indicated that he had not been contacted regarding the incident. I informed the Officer that Ms. Mariani assured me that Mr. Mullins was not on campus and there was an investigation. The Officer assured me that they would look further into the matter on February 20, 2012 after returning from the Presidential holiday.
After completing my research regarding protocol of harassment and abuse in the Cedar Hill High School Student Handbook 2011-2112; harassment is termed as follows: “Conduct so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects the student’s ability to participate or benefit from an educational program or activity; creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile or offensive educational environment; or substantially interferes with the student’s academic performance.” Policy further states that “harassment may include, but are not limited to…………….physical aggression or assault.” Based on school policy, AdJane’ has clearly been harassed and assaulted by Mr. Mullins. After furthering my research the Cedar Hill’s district’s Student Welfare Child Abuse and Neglect policy indicates in the Student Anti-victimization Program states that: “Any person who has cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as required by law. The report must be made within 48 hours after the professional first suspects’ abuse or neglect.” (Education Code 38:004/Family Code 261:101(a).
Ms. Mariani failed to report this incident to CPS. District policy further indicates: “A person commits a class A misdemeanor if he or she has caused to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect and knowingly fails to report it as provided by law.” (Family Code 261.109). What’s even more appalling is that Ms. Mariani is a certified school counselor and administrator and is aware or should be aware of state, district and school protocol. We were shocked that having a dual role in the education field that student safety would not be her first priority. Therefore, I reported the incident on February 18, 2012 to CPS and filed a report. A week later AdJane’ and the other student were interviewed by the CPS Representative Ms. Pierce. After contacting Ms. Pierce a week later she stated the investigation could take 30-60 days.
Two weeks after the incident we did not receive any follow up information from Ms. Mariani. After sending this letter to the school district superintendents (Horace Williams and Homer Carter and Chief Officer Kim Lewis) we were invited by Kim Lewis’ office to have a conversation about what happened. Mr. Lewis indicated in our meeting that even though CPS indicated that the investigation could take 30-60 days, he felt that we should receive a report and findings regarding the incident before the time period. That has yet to happen from the district, Ms. Mariani, school Law Enforcement Officers or CPS. However, Principal Mariani did contact me via e-mail asking what could she do to make AdJane’ feel more comfortable at school, and that Mr. Mullins was given a “strong” reprimand by her (according to Ms. Mariani, we are not at liberty to know what mean). We have contacted the CPS Representative Ms. Pierce on numerous occasions and were told a week ago that the investigation should be complete as of April 6, 2012. Still we have yet to have a response still from the district, Ms. Mariani, School Law Enforcement Officers or CPS regarding their findings. I have also reached out to a school board member that ensured me that the superintendent was aware of the incident. There has been no response as well.
My husband and I feel that it appears that this has been clearly defined as negligence to follow protocol as well as a covered up for the district and the high school for their best interest and not the student. As stated at the beginning of this petition, As of April 13, 2012 it will be two months since the incident. There has yet to be any follow up from any of the above mentioned. We also find it quite disturbing that Mr. Mullins is still able to be on the high school campus around students and participate in his coaching capacity with no reprimand until the investigation is complete.
Please sign this petition to enforce the school district to terminate Principal Mariani and Teacher Jonathan Mullins. Our children have the right to be safe while in public learning environments that are funded by tax payer dollars. The School District should also hire persons that will not only consider the best interest of the school district but, abide by safety and protocol procedures that are ensuring students first.
James & Dr. Monica Lewis