Friday, November 23, 2007

North Tonawanda City School District Conduct, Operation and Maintenance of Extracurricular Activities

The Standards: Students desiring to form an Extracurricular activity shall petition their principal in writing . The petition shall state the purpose and describe the activities of the proposed Extracurricular activity and shall be signed by at least seven students. If the purpose of the proposed Extracurricular activity falls within the scope of educational or school service purposes and if the necessary space and equipment are available, the principal in conjunction with the petitioning students, shall seek a suitable adviser. When these procedures have been completed, the building principal shall recommend to the superintendent that the Extracurricular activity be approved as a "pilot" activity. After at least one school year of functioning on a pilot basis (advisor not paid), the principal may submit a request to the Superintendent for formal Board approval and a paid advisorship. (Regulation 2004 7410R.1, 1 of 2, City of North Tonawanda School District).

The Truths: Principal Fisher, holding knowledge of City of North Tonawanda School District policy and procedure and rules and regulations for Conduct, Operation and Maintenance of Extracurricular Activities, met "...with Michael in mid-September in reference to his request to solicit an advisor for a club that would promote tolerance and awareness of homosexual issues. I offered my full support of Michael's desire to send a memorandum to the staff seeking a volunteer advisor. With my express approval, he sent a memorandum to the faculty. (Respondent's Affidavit, Case No. 10108712, January 31, 2007, NYS Division of Human Rights).

Principal Fisher holding further knowledge of the hostile climate toward Michael and children like Michael, and shortly before Principal Fisher's alleged series of "6 or 7" bomb threats (apparently under-reported to NYSED/Violent Incident Reporting) occurring the week of October 7 through and including October 12, 2005 (the date Michael discovered the written death threat in his NTHS day planner), permitted Michael to circulate approximately 125 of the following "memorandum" to North Tonawanda High School Faculty and Staff:

"Dear Teachers and Staff of NTHS:

My name is Michael Mangus, I am 14 years old and in 9th grade. I came out last year, to the whole Middle School and High School, pretty much all of NT. I'm gay, and well very proud of it! All of my friends accept me and a lot of people do accept it. But, there are others that are not totally accepting of it. Trust me, getting called a faggot all day long by guys isn't that great of a feeling. So, I was thinking, maybe NTHS could have a Gay - Straight Alliance. I have talked to Mr. Fisher and Mrs. Fisher about this, and they said that I just need an advisor. So here is where you come in [smiley]! I want the word to get around to all teachers and staff, who don't have a busy schedule to help me with creating this club. It will be after school, not for a long time probably just during the activity period or until 3:00 or something. Not that long. It will be once a week or maybe once every two weeks if you want to. We would talk about issues in the gay community, and really help the students learn and understand more about gay life pretty much! There are special holidays in the gay community that we would do, like National Coming out day (October 11), and there is silent day in April. And I will obviously explain all these later. But I know this would be a great thing to do to stop the hate and discrimination here at NTHS. If anyone at all would like to be an advisor, this goes for Teachers and Staff, please let me know, ASAP!! Please fill out this form and hand it into my homeroom teacher (Mrs. Paul room 128), or call me! My information is listed below.

Michael A. Mangus..."

Michael received one response to his innocent effort to solicit an advisor in the manner "expressly approved" by Principal Fisher and promoted by Mrs. Fisher. Michael was clearly placed in a situation that set him up to fail, further compromise his safety, and suffer emotional injury. Michael later conveyed to me that he heard rumors of mockery by numerous faculty and staff, and Michael was devastated.

Mrs. Fisher (Colleen M. Fisher), was assigned to Michael as a "school guidance counselor" for the 2005-2006 school year. According to New York State Education Department TEACH records, Mrs. Fisher held permanent certification in Health and was issued a "school guidance counselor provisional certificate" which expired September 2005. I later learned that Mrs. Fisher was appointed as a long-term substitute "school guidance counselor" at North Tonawanda High School for the 2005-2006 school year, and left North Tonawanda High School at the end of the 2005-2006 school term. The original NYSED TEACH record reflecting Colleen M. Fisher's licensing status as "school guidance counselor provisional status expires 2005", appears to have been removed from NYSED TEACH Inquiry System; NYSED TEACH record now reflects "School Guidance Counselor" certified status 2007.

New York State Division of Human Rights, Buffalo Division (Case No. 10108712), holds all documentary evidence and SWORN statements of Principal Fisher's "express approval" to Michael to circulate this "memorandum".

Friday, November 9, 2007

New York State School Report Card 2005-2006 North Tonawanda High School

The Standards: The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE) was passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by then Governor George E. Pataki on July 24, 2000. In response to the legislation, the New York State Board of Regents amended the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Section 100.22 (gg) by emergency action, and made permanent in June 2001, to provide specifications for the creation of a uniform violent incident reporting system. The Regulations were developed in consultation with the Division of Criminal Justice Services and with legislative and executive staff. The Regulations make use of definitions of crimes taken from the Penal Law and require schools to record and report information on violent and disruptive incidents to New York State Education Department.

Six (6) years later, in a press release dated May 22, 2006, "Commissioner Mills Announces Actions To Improve School District Reporting of Violent Incidents". Commissioner Mills' press release was spawned by "a new audit of school district data for 2003-2004 recently conducted by the State Comptroller and by increasing concerns among the Regents and State Education Department officials that data reporting by schools is irregular and inadequate."

State Education Commissioner Richard Mills said, "The Comptroller's audit confirms our increased concerns about underreporting in schools,"... "Creating a safe environment is critical and fundamental for learning. More must - and will - be done to get full compliance. The Board of Regents and the State Education Department are taking aggressive actions to ensure accurate reporting and compliance." (For Immediate Release, May 22, 2006, Commissioner Mills Announces Actions to Improve School District Reporting of Violent Incidents).

The Truths: Commissioner Mills had knowledge of the violence occurring against Michael while Michael was in attendance at North Tonawanda High School as early as November 7, 2005, including a copy of the written death threat against Michael, and Commissioner Mills failed to take the actions he claims "to improve school district reporting of violent incidents."

Further, John H. George, former Superintendent of City of North Tonawanda School District, held knowledge of both the death threat against Michael's life due to Michael's sexual orientation and gender expression, and a "series of six (6) or seven (7) bomb threats", all occurring (upon SWORN Affidavit of James V. Fisher, Principal North Tonawanda High School) between October 7 and October 12, 2005. Dr. George was responsible for compliance with the requirement of superintendents' certification of districts' violent and disruptive incidents reports to New York State Education Department for the 2005-2006 school year; Dr. George was also responsible for the accuracy of the data reported for the 2005-2006 New York State School Report Card.

A complaint has been filed with New York State Office State Comptroller Investigations and Accountability Divisions against City of North Tonawanda School District for under-reporting its violent incidents for the 2005-2006 school year; a complete investigation into this matter is expected.

A comprehensive list of New York State Comptroller's recommendations and State Education Department actions can be read at

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New York State Division of Human Rights Purposes of Article 290

The Standards: Article 290 of the New York State Division of Human Rights Laws and Regulations is known as the "Human Rights Law". It states in part:

"The legislature hereby finds and declares that the state has the responsibility to act to assure that every individual within this state is afforded an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life and that the failure to provide such equal opportunity whether because of discrimination, prejudice, intolerance or inadequate education...threatens the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants...". (290. Purposes of Article 3., NYS Division of Human Rights).

The Truths: Not every individual within this state is afforded an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life, including equal opportunity in education and equal protection of the laws. Defective or corrupt administrations rather than defective policy is usually to blame. Laws and regulations are clearly in place to protect individuals from the forms of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying that both Michael and I have been subject too by numerous state agencies and individuals who egregiously and illegally abuse the "Human Rights Law".

In the case of Michael, New York State Division of Human Rights holds sufficient knowledge and credible evidence that numerous state agencies and individuals, including the City of North Tonawanda School District, repeatedly denied Michael an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life, which includes his civil right to equal access to education and equal protection of the laws. Yet, further by letter dated June 14, 2007, from New York State Division of Human Rights, Acting General Counsel, Caroline J. Downey states:

"Pursuant to Rule 20 (c), where an appeal is not taken and the time to appeal has expired, a reopening of a no probable cause determination may be predicated only upon actions occurring subsequent to the investigation, or an allegation of newly discovered evidence of wrongdoing, fraud or irregularity which could not, with due diligence, have been discovered before the dismissal of the complaint (9 N.Y.C.R.R. Section 465.20 (c)). A careful review of your case does not support a reopening under this section."