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Wallisgate – 21st Century Deep Throat or Psychopath?

Michael Morris – In Focus

To get my bias out of the way right at the start I will say that after what I have seen in the last couple of days concerning the conduct of APS teacher Kathleen Wallis I not only would not believe a word from her mouth, I would not trust her with a hamster. At every turn it is one lie after another, whether on official documents or in person Wallis has no use for the truth, no respect for it and a propensity to exploit those who assume they are being told the truth. Kathy Wallis should never be sanctioned to enter a classroom – ever. At the same time we see the local NEA establishment implicated as accomplices.

You may or may not be familiar with a donation handbill being passed out around town known as The Spokesmen. The undated Volume 1 Issue 4 of this publication featured a rather sensational story under the byline of Karl Anderson. The story, attributed to the account of Kathleen Wallis is, at its most fundamental level, an indication of a disclosure of not only prohibited information, but also unsubstantiated defamatory allegations clearly identifying the student. I don’t think I need to go through the finer points of ethical conduct in order to tie this one down.

Some wonder how Wallis remained employed in the wake of accusing a clearly identified student of rather continual drunkenness on the pages of the local donation flyer. One rumor circulating is that Wallis was merely overheard by the extortion journalist Anderson with whom she was sharing quarters or that he had stolen her private email. In fact the publisher of The Spokesmen even went so far as to travel to every distribution point to add a sticker in red type, in every copy, over Wallis’ photo warning that parts of the story were erroneous and that the author lacked permission to publish the story after Wallis threatened him (PDF). Now, it is all making sense. It’s all Karl’s fault, right? After all he is the most unethical writer anyone around here can remember, right? The problem is that while Anderson has certainly proved, by his words and deeds, that he is capable of this manner of conduct, emails delivered to the Alamogordo Times tend to support a different factual accounting.

Referring to the disciplinary proceedings described in the story Wallis says to Anderson:

“I will not fight …you can have the story if you want it, but I am going to work to have the crap expunged from my file in exchange for my resignation. I have enough time this summer to fix my house and make a move.”

What story is she giving Anderson permission to run with? Here is how Karl described the story and its source:

“Very good documentation!
This may be “Teacher disciplined for reporting possible substance abuse by student.””

While the eventual printed title was “Teacher could lose job for reporting concerns about student” I am sure you get the picture. Ghost writer or plagiarist? Go figure. An interesting, but also significant part of the email that did not appear in Anderson’s attack piece was Wallis’ description of the student as a 4.0 student which somehow does not fit with the sluggish, red eyed student portrayed by Anderson.

As you may know Kathy Wallis recently testified against APS superintendent Mike Harris in an ethics hearing. This story, written by Wallis’ lover, is, coincidentally, about an exchange student living with the Harris family. That was the point of the story. This story was one of a series of stories attacking Harris written by Anderson.

So, clearly Kathy Wallis did, for the purpose of publication, disclose both privileged and defamatory information about a clearly identified student to who her boyfriend who had a place to publish it and another trashing of Harris due. Any other rendition is a lie. A Tums Mr. Berlin?

What Wallis did was bad enough standing on its own, but other players may have difficulty explaining their actions. Local NEA President Judith Pingel was one of the recipients of the email as was a yet unidentified recipient with a nea.org email address. Pingel knew the email she received was almost identical to the story in The Spokesmen yet kept silent allowing Wallis to skate.

It is time to rid the schools of psychopaths pursuing their twisted vendettas at the expense of the students and the community. Some asked how you get rid of bad teachers and organized crime in the union. Fire these two. Personally I would do it before the US Attorney arrives in town. Parents take your pick. Who do you want teaching your child, the one that would make an accusation against your child to the “press” or the one who covered up for it? If you let either slide forget the pipe dream of good schools or retaining quality teachers.

Here is the Email Wallis sent to Anderson: (PDF)

Hi.

Mrs. Kilmer advised me this morning that there were just some “concerns” to go over regarding my reporting the suspected issue with Mr. Harris’s exchange student. I took Jocelyne with me, and at first, Mrs. Kilmer didn’t like that idea, but they allowed it.

Since I noted a student might have been under the influence, even though I was not certain, I immediately contacted Officer Pacheco and explained my concern. Pacheco asked me a few questions about what was happening and when I had him in class. He then told me that he would check on the student after lunch if he didn’t get tied up. I told him I appreciated that and I left the conversation and went to my teacher’s box before returning to my classroom.

The second time I spoke with Officer Pacheco was three days later (about April 16 or 17) when I noted the student was in the same condition. Pacheco told me that he would look around for the student after lunch at the start of the following week and check on him. Officer Pacheco told me that I could also send a student to his office with a note, and then Pacheco would come up with an “excuse” to pull the student out of class and check to be sure he was okay. Since the class dynamic of my 6th period is a little raucous, I told Pacheco using another student to contact his office probably wasn’t a good idea. During this second meeting, Officer Pacheco told me to put some notes in STI, but at no time did he tell me that I was supposed to contact an administrator before contacting an SRO (In the meeting, Pacheco was not truthful and said that he advised me to report the incident to administration first, but that was never said – at no time during either conversation I had with Pacheco did he mention reporting my concerns to admin – if he had advised such, I certainly would have done that)

Mrs. Kilmer had Pacheco and Dominguez come into her office during the meeting and Pacheco looked me right in the face and told me that he had stated in both our conversations that I was to report this to administration. That is absolutely not true – if he would have directed me to the chain of reporting under this policy change, I certainly would have followed it…but he did not. He told me to document my concerns in STI, but at no time did he tell me to go through administration. He only told me he would check on the student.

At the beginning of the following week, I again went to an SRO (school resource officer) and spoke to Officer Dominguez regarding the same student appearing to be impaired again in class. Officer Dominguez told me that if I suspected the student was under the influence I needed to send him to the office or call for security. I explained to Officer Dominguez that the student was not a discipline problem, was not disrespectful or disruptive, and I would prefer not to chance any false accusations since this student carries a 4.0 gpa and is here from Norway. I was, however, concerned about his safety if he was actually impaired to any degree. I explained to Officer Dominguez that Officer Pacheco had told me he was going to do a welfare check to ensure the student was okay after lunch, and at that time, Officer Dominguez told me to document my concerns for an administrator. I did document everything that happened, but I did not understand that I was to forward my concerns to administrators immediately. In the nine years with AHS, many teachers have utilized security liasions and school officers to check on students BEFORE formal reports are forwarded. I was concerned enough about the student to report to an officer and request they check on his well being.

In the meeting this morning, Mrs. Kilmer advised me that I had violated board policy regarding this and she told me how “very serious” the situation was, according to Judy Jones. Mrs. Kilmer and Mr. Stockton explained that I am supposed to report to “lower level” investigators which are administrators. Then, if the admin finds a student in possession or under the influence, then the officers are brought in. Jocelyne then explained to Mrs. Kilmer and Mr. Stockton that they needed to advise teachers of the policy changes. She said that last year she contacted a security liasion to report a student who smelled like alcohol and that is the way we’ve been trained – to utilize resources to check on students so that the teachers are protected from volatile situations. Mrs. Kilmer read through the policy that I allegedly violated, and at the end, she stated that I could be disciplined or terminated for “violating” the policy.

So, they are going to write me up and I told Mrs. Kilmer that I will be compiling my notes and writing my response that I would like attached to their documentation. I used my resources – like I have always done – to attempt to ensure the safety and well being of a student. Mr. Stockton actually suggested that I may have chosen to purposely detour around the chain of reporting because the student lives with Mr. Harris. I told Mr. Stockton I had no problem bringing them the issue, but I utilized an officer with the experience to determine if the student was actually impaired. I also told Mr. Stockton that I had been in contact with Mr. Harris before regarding the student’s abilities in my class, and that I would be more conscientious about an exchange student’s safety and our school liability issue before I would concern myself with who he lives with. If something did happen to the student and I had failed to report to someone, I would have been responsible. Mrs. Kilmer again held up the highlighted policy I “violated”, and she said, “Do you know who all this falls back on?” (then she pointed her finger across the desk at me and said, “This all falls back on you.”

I cared about a student, noticed he was not alert and was overly sluggish. I noted his eyes were very red and his speech was slow and soft. Immediately after class, I saw Officer Pacheco, explained what I had witnessed and told him my concerns on safety. I was told they would check on him. Now, it appears I am going to be written up for caring about the safety of a student because I reported to a school officer FIRST instead of going to an administrator first.

I can understand if I noticed a student was possibly under the influence and I did nothing…then I would expect discipline, but that is not the case. And for Mrs. Kilmer to go through the policy bullets, then went even further ensuring that “discipline or termination” was mentioned, (and Jocelyne again said for her 13 years here, teachers have often reported to security liasions first for many reasons and she was not aware the reporting steps/hierarchy had changed).

And if it was so serious, I wonder why I first spoke to Pacheco in mid-April and he didn’t contact administration about my report to him until the first week of May. The board policy states it will be reported “timely”…it was two weeks.

Let me know what you think. I’m sure I will have the discipline to sign by Friday, but I would prefer to have one of you with me as I review their documentation. They may just send me straight to personnel and decide to go that way…nothing would surprise me at this point.

Thanks

Kathy