Marianne Kennedy SRC testimony transcript – November 15, 2016

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One August morning as I was preparing for a new school year my entire career flashed before my eyes. I was notified by my principal that something went wrong with DHS and my career was in jeopardy.   I could not even begin to understand what he was talking about since I was NEVER notified by DHS that anything was wrong.   Somehow the district was notified and one piece of paper has taken a dramatic toll on my life. I went from planning the new school year to saving my career in a matter of minutes.

What is not fair is that you have already assumed I am guilty. No one has ever reached out to me to find out what happened, how it happened, or any other of the important details into this matter.   You have taken hearsay of an outsider and not the word of your administrator who knows the truth or any of the other 70 people that I work with that have continued to tell you that this is wrong.

Let me tell you who I am since you think you know me. I am not only a teacher, but a mentor, a friend, and a mom. I have spent my entire career at the same school.   I began as a prep teacher, then a classroom teacher, and finally a school based teacher leader. I organized Saturday school programs, extended day, power hour, and I am also the test coordinator and roster person. I have also been the part time nurse. If there is something that needs to be done, I am the person who is going to get it done.

When a child is not picked up, I am the one that stays until they are safely home.   You would be surprised how many times that happens.   I have walked children home when we have no working phone numbers. Why because I need to sleep at night and as a parent I need to know they are safe.   I can’t tell you the number of times I had to have someone else pick my own children up from daycare because I was not going to meet the 6:00 deadline.

When a family tried to register, but their immunizations were not up to date, I provided them money to get them to the clinic. Why because the children were out of school long enough and I saw the look of desperation in the mom’s eye.   Guess what the children have not missed a day in 2 years.

I began a food and clothing supply closet that we utilize for families who are struggling because of fire or homelessness. And in these economic times there are many.  I had one little boy who came every Friday after school for two years, because he needed food for the weekend.

When a child was being sent to the hospital and no family members could be reached, I went with them.

Two summers ago, a child never went right home after school. The teacher and I were called in the middle of the night by the police department because they were looking for him. Guess what It took me a few hours, but I told them where he would be and guess what they found him.

My job has never been an 8:30 to 3:00 routine for me. I get to know the students and their families. I become a part of their life and they become a part of mine.   Ask anyone of my colleagues and they will tell you, I am on the phone with them on the weekends, during the holidays, and during the summer months. Why because it Is about the students and like your own family there are no days off.

Even now I am doing what I can to continue to support the school, the students, and my colleagues. I would hope my dedication to the school district, the students and families of my school, and my true love of the profession I chose will count for something.     This is not just my job at stake, it is my reputation, my career and ultimately my family.

What is even more disturbing that in May of 2016 and at professional development on September 30th the district clearly label what is and isn’t child abuse. Do you not follow your own guidelines?   How can you tell your staff one thing and then turn around and do the complete opposite.

I respectfully ask that you allow the efforts I am making to clear my name to be heard, before any action is taken against me tonight.