Two former CMS employees talk discipline with Secretary of Education

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Two former Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) employees met with U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. Annette Albright and Judy Kidd were invited to give their thoughts about school discipline.

Albright is the former CMS employee who was attacked by students at Harding University High School. She suffered a concussion and other injuries. She told DeVos about what happened to her.

"She was shocked," Albright said. "Everyone in the room was shocked that students are actually attacking school personnel and administration, and it came from a perspective that they did not know what was going on."

Kidd is the president of the local Classroom Teachers Association. She says she was invited because the Secretary wanted to hear from people who weren't afraid to speak up and say what's happening inside the schools. Other teachers were also in the room to give DeVos their thoughts on school discipline.

The meeting centered around DeVos being encouraged to do away with the "Dear Colleague" letter, a letter sent out in 2014 during the Obama administration encouraging school districts to think twice before disciplining or suspending students.

Kidd says she mentioned CMS specifically and told the DeVos about what her members are going through.

"I gave them specific examples of teacher assaults and specific examples of how teachers were told not to file charges against students who have assaulted them," Kidd said. "In fact, there was an instance a principal that told a teacher to go home and drink wine and chill out a little bit and change her mind reporting a student."

Albright and Kidd say they will continue speaking out on school discipline until things get better.

"What I would like to see happen is that the 'Dear Colleague' letter is done away with and that we put some common-place discipline action in place - and that discipline action will be effective and keep school environments safe," Albright said.

Albright and Kidd say DeVos is on a fact-finding mission about school discipline. There is no word when the Secretary will make a move.

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