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Posted on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:03 a.m.

Dicken Principal Mike Madison will not be disciplined for black-only field trip, report indicates

By David Jesse

Ann Arbor elementary school Principal Mike Madison will not be disciplined for starting a Lunch Bunch study group open only to black students, despite repeated findings that the group broke district policy and state law.

Those were among the results of the district's investigation into the group, which sparked controversy after Madison took more than 30 black students on a field trip this spring and left non-black students behind. The three-page investigative report was obtained by on Monday through the Freedom of Information Act.

“Mr. Madison’s desire to address the achievement gap at Dicken School is commended; the manner in which he went about doing so with respect to configuring the lunch group and subsequent field trip was not appropriate,” Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley, the district’s administrator for elementary education, wrote in the memo. “Such decision-making was not responsible and should not be repeated. “

District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said Madison had no comment on the report.

“This report will be placed in his personnel file,” Margolis said in an e-mail to “We are working with Mr. Madison as well as the PTO to continue ‘next steps’ for conversations and most importantly academic enrichment opportunities for all students at Dicken.”

The incident

On April 28, a group of 30 black Dicken students went on a field trip to visit University of Michigan scientist Alec Gallimore.


Mike Madison was not disciplined for the black-only field trip.

The students who went on the trip were members of the Lunch Bunch, which started in January and was open to black students in grades three through five. 

When the students got back to school following their field trip, they joined their classmates in a vocal music class. When they entered, they were greeted by booing.

Madison, who is black, came to teacher Ken Monash’s fifth-grade class the next day to discuss the incident.

“Mr. Madison reprimanded the students in Mr. Monash’s fifth-grade classroom the following day for the booing behavior,” the report says. “A discussion followed between Mr. Madison and the fifth grade students regarding racial bias and societal injustice, Mr. Madison’s personal experiences of racial profiling, and discriminatory behaviors such as booing. Students became upset and reported these events/ discussion to their parents.”

Exactly what was said in the class is a big part of the controversy that erupted among parents.

“There is some question whether the booing was the manifestation of student envy, racial bias towards the African American students who participated in the field trip, concern by the students that the music class was again crowded with the increased number of students returning from the trips and/or because this class has in the past 'booed' as a demonstration of displeasure,” Dickinson Kelley wrote. “Regardless, the students interpreted the booing behavior and Mr. Madison as a slight towards African American students by their Caucasian peers.

“Mr. Madison engaged the students in what he characterized as a ‘courageous’ conversation about race and racial profiling. This exchange caused some students to become upset with other students while others felt the conversation was personally accusatory. Mr. Madison’s tone was described as passionate and intense by some and as yelling by others. Some students became clearly upset—crying-- and felt singled out. Mr. Madison sought out the school psychologist following the conversation to help calm individual classmates.”

Madison also took one student out of the class, into the hallway and ultimately outside the outer school doors to talk to him about the incident.

The fallout

Following the meeting with Madison and the class, numerous parents expressed concern to Madison and various school district administrators about both his actions in the classroom and the trip.

The story was reported by and the picked up by regional and national media, creating intense scrutiny on the district.


In the days that followed, the district ended the Lunch Bunch program and held parent meetings at the school.

On May 12, the school board issued a statement saying the program violated state law and the district’s own anti-discrimination policy.

The investigation’s findings

Dickinson Kelley was critical of Madison’s actions in several instances in the report, but also said repeatedly that his intent was good.

“While there is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Madison knowingly and intentionally violated the District’s Non discrimination Policy #2050 and Article I, Section 26 of the State Constitution, his actions did indeed do so,” she wrote. “There is some evidence to suggest that members of his school improvement team, colleagues and members of the PTO raised initial concerns about the propriety of the group’s exclusivity. After internal discussions within Dicken, a decision was made to move forward. Mr. Madison should have investigated these cautions and concerns further.

“…principals as educational leaders are expected to lead by example; at no time should any teacher or principal engage students in an extended conversation by yelling or with an intimidating tone. Furthermore, while discussions about culture and race can be very healthy and lead to a greater sense of understanding and tolerance, the students in Mr. Monash’s classroom were unprepared for such an intense and intensely personal conversation given the context of the 'field trip' events. Mr. Madison should have used better professional judgment and engaged in a developmentally appropriate conversation with the fifth grade students without the context of anger and personal references."

The report also criticized Madison's poor judgment for taking the student outside the outer school doors instead using a closed classroom to continue the discussion, which "caused the student and student’s parents grave concern." According to the report, upon hindsight, Madison agreed he should have taken the student to his office instead.

“In closing, it is expected that Mr. Madison appreciate the degree to which his actions exposed the school district to potential illegalities, diverted precious district resources—personnel and community goodwill - during the last critical month of the school year, exposed the school district to local, national and international criticism, focused undeserved scrutiny of the Pacific Group’s Educational Program, and impacted Dicken School families, staff and students,'" the report says. "It is expected that no such actions or lack of judgment will occur again. ... And while racial injustice remains a pernicious and nefarious assault on our society, a condition that impacts the lives of students every day, the degree to which we directly involve our youngest students in these conversations must be done with regard for developmental readiness and with great care.”

David Jesse covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.


Stephen Landes

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 12:18 p.m.

This is more a general education comment, but it relates to the discussion as we have all commented on achievement, gaps, and methods to improve. The WSJ has an article this morning describing the readiness of the class of 2010 for college based on ACT scoring trends. Here's the link: The message isn't encouraging. I think the public education system is broken and what we're all talking about is tinkering with the edges, but not significant;y changing the system. We may be a bit isolated in A2 thinking that we are doing all-right, but just need to help a few people get up to speed. Nothing could be further from the truth --we may be all-right compared to Detroit, but our students aren't competing with Detroit; they're competing with China, Taiwan, Korea, Germany, and other parts of the world. The old systems of pitting unions against management and boards of education with each group struggling hard to hold on to what they have and damn everyone else is a complete failure. The sooner we figure that out the faster we can do something about it.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 7:28 a.m.

What happened at Dicken School one day back in late April was of important significance only for the students in that music class, their teacher, their parents, members of the Lunch Bunch, Mr. Madison, and the AAPS chain of command directly above him. It was an event of lesser, indirect significance for other Dicken students, teachers, parents and administrators. For the rest of us, this is an absolute micro-issue in the larger scheme of things. It's a Big Zero as far as how much this modest neighborhood drama really affects the lives and well-being of everyone else. In the end, it's just a staff disciplinary matter for AAPS to sort out and resolve, something worth maybe 25 total comments, at most, on a local blog. Can we get a life? In other news, Borders moves a step closer to shutting down. Unlike Lunch-gate, this will actually impact more than a few families in town if it happens. Of course, any thread on this subject is a magnet for a flood of commentary, since topics related to affirmative action, along with those related to illegal immigration, are among the the shrinking number of still-tolerated social platforms for white people to openly voice resentment on racial matters. In this case, an ill-advised, intemperate classroom performance by a minority principal provides a convenient foil to jump-start yet another round of pent-up venting by the white folk over Ann Arbor multiculturalism "going too far." The sound & fury of the privileged, easily offended White.... Hear Them Roar!


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 7:14 a.m.

@kesey I believe that you are proof that despite the shortcomings of the educational system across the country there are those that can and will come out ok. Thanks for your thoughtful 2cents!


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 6:58 a.m.

@keepingitreal: REALLY?! are you kidding. The only way to address the achievement gap is to segregate black students based on race for special treatment in front of their peers and then bully their peers when question it? Really? bulloney!


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 5:59 a.m.

I hope that black parents, educators, administrators and community leaders are monitoring these comments because given the furor this incident has caused, no black educator or administrator will do anything to address the achievement gap within the context of the school environment simply because they will be fearful of doing so. What this means is that if these entities are interested in providing additional support for black students, it will have to happen outside the school environment. Many other groups provide this type of support for its students, why can't black do the same? It has to be an organized effort though. Let's see if leadership step forth.

Bruce Campbell

Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 2:23 a.m.

The District performed the equivalent of crossing to the other side of the street because it saw an African-American man walking toward it on the side it was on. Spineless.


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 12:57 a.m.

As a 17-year old recent graduate of the AAPS system, after reading this article and a majority of the comments, I felt inclined to put in my opinion. I think Madison had good intentions with these so-called lunch meetings, however I think ANYTIME you divide people based on race, it's not helping us move forward. I know our country is far from it, but I think our goal as human beings is to get to a place where we barely perceive race. I know some may call me naive, and I'm not even saying it's necessarily possible even within the next hundred years, but no positives come from seeing people for what they appear and not who they are. Back to my original point, by segregating these children based on race, Madison is influencing these young minds in a negative way. Children are more perceptive than we think. When you put them into two groups and the only noticeable difference is the color of their skin, they're going to see it. And once they notice a simple difference like that, they will begin attributing behaviors and actions to races. This is how subtle racism begins. I understand the good intentions involved with giving the black students a leg up, but by excluding children of other races, you're defeating the purpose. You make the other children resent them and in young minds, you walk on a thin line between "black students need a leg up" and "black students are dumber". Meanwhile, the black students also notice this and begin perceiving themselves in the same way. I think if Madison had simply based his lunch group on achievement in school, this might have turned out better for everyone involved. Also, I'm addressing more of the first issue brought up by Cash, but on the second issue, of Madison's berating of the children, I think it was out of line and I think there should have been more of a punishment than a simple paper in his file. Just my 2 cents


Wed, Aug 18, 2010 : 12:18 a.m.

CNN should re-evalute A2 as the least desirable place to live, it wouldn't make the top 150 after this fiasco. It's obvious from the voting and comments that the MAJORITY has spoken but only to the liberal minded individuals would decide that this is a non issue and that life should continue (only if their children were not effected) and they'll bury the heads in the sand and not deal with real issues. Love it.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:04 p.m.

@Ms.U.: Yeah, at that age I would have. Possibly even now. The black lunch group also got pizza parties. Your understanding of child psychology leaves something to be desired. @racerx: I have outrage at the achievement gap but I place it where it belongs --> at the parents who don't teach their children to enjoy reading at a young age. They've identified that as the root of the problem in Detroit where most of the achievement gap in this state lies. You choose to place the blame on society.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:58 p.m.

@sbbuilder & Eddie Murrows Ghost: Based on the most recent MEAP scores available (Fall-2009) 5th grade Science at Dickens placed 19th out of 22 Ann Arbor Public Schools. 20 Ann Arbor public schools placed behind the two private A2 schools that tested. Bach and Eberwhite tied the two private schools with 100 percent "Meeting or Exceeding Standards". Dicken scored 85.5% "Meeting or Exceeding". Maybe the Madison apologists should check with and see how 5th grade science is taught at Bach or a private school. I would like to know if they have field trips for black boys only.,1607,7-140-22709_31168_31530---,00.html


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:50 p.m.

For those concerned about what to do with booing-there was no booing so don't make that an issue. Nobody, including those returning from the trip heard any booing. The only claim of booing was made in the report issued by the AAPS that Mr. Madison heard booing. Maybe it was just an after the fact attempt of a justification for bad behavior. The AAPS is relying on someone at the school for the information that is not factual and the booing has been totally fabricated from this. Someone stirred the pot by whispering in the principals ear. Shame on those at AAPS for not realizing it and contributing even more to this bad situation.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:38 p.m.

@Kelly "Before you judge any situation, you need to be in that situation." I see so unless we are teachers we are not capable of looking at a situation and making a judgment as to whether an action conforms to what we deem to be right. Interesting! That's like saying unless you are a bank robber don't tell me its wrong. "We are human, we all make mistakes, hopefully we are big enough, smart enough to learn from them." I agree with that completely. BUT there are usually some consequences associated with our mistakes. I have never said that Mr Madison should be fired or even reprimanded! But I do not agree with trying to treat this as if were on the same level as a parent raising their voice with their child! I do not consider myself part of the 'well educated' community. But that does not mean I do not know right from wrong! I hope Mr Madison will continue to learn from his mistake! And the one consequence I would endorse is a very tight reign on him in the future.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:31 p.m.

@Ms. U "equal educational opportunities" For some or all? and as long as taxpayers money goes towards schools, they should not have to be driven away to other schools when it is the public school that is in violation of state law.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:07 p.m.

@ ERMG "2a refers to organizations like the KKK and the Aryan Nations" Funny I did not see the definition limit itself to those two disgusting groups! Enlighten us please is racism only manifest in whites against blacks? @djm12652 "racism is about color" I think there are a few groups that would not agree that racism is always about color only.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:03 p.m.

Isn't anything being done about the students who booed their returning (black) classmates? This behavior, esp. on the part of 5th grade students, is inexcusable! Would you like your student to be booed because they were lucky enough to go on a field trip? What message does this send? And the excuse that this class booes "for fun", such as when a recess has been cancelled, (this was actually given by a parent of one child in that class!) should be embarrassing to all involved parents! I am no fan of Mike Madison, for entirely different reasons, but I laud his behavior in this case. And yes, I do believe that it's a school's responsibility to address and try to diminish the racial gap in educational achievement! Addressing the problem of equal educational opportunities was precisely why the current educational system was originally developed! Don't like it, take your child out! If you choose not to, at least teach them how to behave properly; that is YOUR responsibility!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:18 p.m.

@dwa There's the $64,000 question. What does the classroom teacher say happened or any other adult that may have been in the room?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:11 p.m.

Ghost The private school my other children have been attending has been nothing short of outstanding. There is no question there of educational excellence. Dicken had a 'program' in place that fit the definition of racism. If you can't see that, I can't help you. Just about everbody, except the AAPS, thinks that this program was racist. A pupil needs to recognize the authority of a teacher in order to be effectively taught. In your case, I don't. glacialerratic The short answer is 'yes'. Although the public education system is not based on racism (that would be silly), there are times where portions of it either border on racism, or are out-and-out racist. This is a case in point. I just can't get around the old truism 'two wrongs don't make a right'. So to say that one group has been prejudiced against, and now, in order to right that wrong, we need to prejudice the other way, is wrong. Others have pointed out that the achievement gap has existed for decades. Untold amounts of time, energy, and rescources have been thrown at this gap, to little or no avail. So what's wrong? My short answer is that I don't think it is the School's responsibility to close the gap. That's right. Not the school's responsibility. These kids arrive at school with a myriad of disadvantages. Broken families. Generations of welfare. Poor male role models. And on and on. To think that schools will be the great equalizer is to place too great a burden on them. Schools are there to educate, not to fix societal problems. Yet, many have also noted that parental involvement is probably the single biggest variable in a child's education. If a child has only one parent, or perhaps none at all, how is the school supposed to fix that? It can't. Also, the clock is ticking. We don't have another generation or so to figure out the solutions to the woes of our educational system. The excuses need to stop. The bickering needs to cease. Petty differences need to be set aside. Our children need to be competitive on a world wide basis, and every metric is showing us to be falling farther and farther behind.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:02 p.m.

Having a group based on race AND a field trip based on race -is WRONG!!! The principal's reaction is unacceptable....I would be very curious to hear what Mr. Monash (the classroom teacher) has to say about the conversation that took place.....

Stephen Landes

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

Oh, Ghost, you phantom commenter: I would say that grouping children by race so that you can try to help them bridge a gap says a lot about how one perceives these children AND their parents. Low expectations result in low achievement. Making excuses for everyone -- and that includes something like whites can't achieve the performance of asians because their families aren't focused enough on achievement -- helps no one. I believe all the children would have been better served by being exposed to a wide variety of role models representing as much intellectual diversity as possible. Better for them to see people they may not otherwise lookup to in a mixed group than in a "targeted" group. Let them see that everyone can make a successful life for themselves whether they are engineers, scientists, artists, teachers, or whatever. Then we will begin to make progress.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 5:23 p.m.

Argument based on dictionary definitions is not especially useful. However, "...based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles." --Do you seriously believe, based on the facts that are known, that Mr. Madison intended to execute the principles of racism, that is, the idea that "racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race"? Or that public education in Ann Arbor is "a system founded on racism"? This is simply at complete variance with the facts, as much of this discussion has been.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

Ghost You picked one of several valid definitions. Number 2 from Merriam Webster: "2a: a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles. b: a political or social system founded on racism." That definition exactly describes what was going on at Dicken. Sorry, but you'll have to try harder at schooling us. To all of the posters who disagree with todays decision, I would encourage you to take the next step and take some sort of action. Write to your school board. Attend the next board meeting. Write to your principal. Vote in the fall elections. We are done with the AAPS system. We tried to positively affect our childrens', and other childrens' education while working within the system. But, in the end, it made more sense for us to just pull our child and move on.

mike from saline

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 4:48 p.m.

Mack, you hit the nail right on the head! The incredible record of academic success [as a whole] for Asian students is so very hard for the "excuse's for failure crowd" to explain away. That's why your comments will be pretty much ignored, I'm sad to say.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

I am flabbergasted that this administrator will walk away scot-free given the egregious facts of this case. The exercise of race-base classifications to exclude non-blacks may not only violate federal civil rights legislation but also the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) at the state level since ELCRA protects students atending public schools. Those non-black students' parents may have standing to sue the district for their children being denied a benefit of the district on account of race. I anticipate and hope that the parents of these affected students consult with legal counsel.

Jay Allen

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

@Stephen Landes: "I cannot think of any useful purpose in creating or permitting single race groups in any of our schools. No single race groups in elementary, middle, or high school. No Black Student Union or any other group. If you want to teach people about traditions from one group or another that's fine, but allow any student who is interested to participate." Game - Set - Match


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 4:03 p.m.

@jondhall No, not my point at all. Im not into witch hunts eitherI dont want Mr. Madison removed and I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. The only people being punished are the students in the school system that do not have a voice or advocates for them in this process. No one is worried about those students, only the ones that were left out of a field trip. @ Stephen Landes I recommend a strong dose of religious education in the home for all children and it won't matter what that religion is -- any religion that stresses love for one's neighbors, respect, responsibility, and diligence will be an advance for all Wowthis is exactly the opposite of what we need in the schools. As human beings we seek out those with similarities that which we can identify. Why is it so wrong to have groups of people that you can relate to because of these similarities? As a musician, athlete or even a minority student in a school I dont see the harm in participating in groups of people that have something in common with you. Especially if it is something you cant control. I participated in BSU, National Honors Society, Symphony Band and Orchestra etcthroughout my years in the AAPS. All of these are groups have their own characteristics and struggles. There is nothing wrong with groups geared toward giving students a chance to discuss their individual struggles in the company of a group of people they can identify with in whatever capacity. @Macabre Sunset If parents arent doing their jobs at home what are teachers supposed to do when the kids make it to their class rooms at age 4 or 5?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 3:55 p.m.

Honestly, I don't understand how a field trip is supposed to bridge any gap in academic achievement, but that is just my opinion. It seems ridiculous to me. The underlying reason for these "gaps" starts and ends at home and has absolutely nothing to do with race. We are all taught the same things in school, given the same homework assignments and given the same tests. The reason some perform better than others are because parents are involved and actually stress to their children the importance of doing well in school. I am asian and my family and my culture as a whole, stresses education and heaps praise upon those who are academically gifted. The reason we are seen as a "model minority" is due to the fact that our culture stresses the primary importance of academics at an early age and the idea that hardwork now will pay off down the road. I was always told when others are playing and you are studying, you have gained an advantage. I don't believe that someone's ethnic origin makes one inherently smarter than another, so I don't think any race should be given preferential treatment in academics. If you are a parent and you want your child to do well in school, take a vested interest in his/her studies. Just doing the bare minimum in school and in your studies in general is the issue. Those that put the effort in succeed...and those that don't argue that the school is not doing enough. Its laughable really! The racial injustice by a person of power at a public institution is the real issue at hand. The principal's actions promoted segregation yet he is not punished. Instead of molding young minds and guiding them to be accepting of one another, he created an environment where there is a clear racial divide.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

Talk about racial discrimination, he totally discriminated against ALL the white children in that school! To me the other students probably booed because they KNEW they were being discriminated against when not allowed to go on the field trip themselves or to attend the lunch meetings!! Kids are not stupid! When you feel left out it doesn't matter what your skin color is! Duh!

Charley Sullivan

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 3:23 p.m.

"A comment was removed. We do not allow comments that accuse anybody of being racist." And what if someone IS being racist? Let's just pretend they're not? Bigotry and racism do exist, and we have many issues, including this one, that call for a full discussion of those ideas. (Certainly the definition of what and who are racist is critical, and there have been many people who have called Principal Madison racist in this conversation, and those comments are still up. I'm just sayin...) OK, so slightly off topic, but while not championing name calling, one should still be able to say such things as, "this strikes me as racism," or "this strikes me as a racist idea."

Silly Sally

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

I normally would agree with those who said that having a black only group as a method of identifying and helping under performing students is wrong. I went to the school meeting and heard both sides. I went there all mad and out for blood. When I left, I could see the principal's effort of attempting to help one group of students who all were black. These students know that they are black and by singling them out, perhaps this is a better way of reaching them. Sometimes it works best to have an all boys group or an all girls group. But then why must every all-white group, country club, church, or fraternity be condemned? If having all black groups is defend-able, then why not all-white groups? That is the problem that I see. As far as his yelling at the classroom, he is wrong. Why not an alternative fled trip for the other students? The Ann Arbor School Board was wrong to not discipline him. Firing him is going too far, but then society has gone too far many times when a white man has made much lessor mistakes

Elizabeth Nelson

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:58 p.m.

There is a relevant bit in the report about discussion among the 'school improvement team' BEFORE the program started. People on the team expressed concerns about it, Madison didn't bother to look into it and he just pushed forward with it. The report, at least, acknowledges that as principal it was his responsibility to have double-checked the legality of what they were doing. This would be true whether the issue involved anything to do with race or not. Folks are getting caught up in the emotion of a racial issue, but I think it comes down to basic competence. I can't get over the fact that Madison was so oblivious/unconcerned/ignorant about the relevant law. Clearly, the AAPS is trying to be innovative in addressing the achievement gap and so I can see where Madison could reasonably assume that he wasn't flying in the face of district policy, but the STATE law... geez, he must be living under a rock not to have seriously considered that. Everyone I know who has even a passing interest in education was very aware of the impact that state constitutional amendment would have when it was up for a vote. Not a blip on Madison's radar? I'd love to have been a fly on the wall at the improvement team meeting because I'd bet money that Madison was warned very SPECIFICALLY (though not emphatically enough, apparently) that this would be a problem. Madison charged over that cliff with enthusiasm and apparently couldn't resist drawing EXTRA attention to himself by bullying students along the way... It just boggles my mind that anyone would try to minimize it as insignificant, well-intentioned or credit him with having thought 'outside the box.' It's called 'reckless stupidity'... It's all compounded by the fact that the BOE and administration essentially backs him up and says it was all really not such a big deal after all.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:54 p.m.

I cannot think of any useful purpose in creating or permitting single race groups in any of our schools. No single race groups in elementary, middle, or high school. No Black Student Union or any other group. If you want to teach people about traditions from one group or another that's fine, but allow any student who is interested to participate. The creation of groups of black or other racial groups to help close the achievement gap is simply wrong and acts to perpetuate the rather than correct the problem. Students should be asked to work together to help all of their classmates achieve -- teach them some personal responsibility for the success of their neighbors and give them methods that they can use. I recommend a strong dose of religious education in the home for all children and it won't matter what that religion is -- any religion that stresses love for one's neighbors, respect, responsibility, and diligence will be an advance for all. Everything Mr. Madison has been described in these articles and in posts as doing is completely wrong and needs to be corrected -- first in his thinking and then in his practice. The reason that so many people are upset with this situation is that we have come a long way, racist actions are no longer considered acceptable, and we hold Ann Arbor to a higher standard than what we see from other places. Parents and taxpaying citizens are rightly concerned when some one who displays poor judgement at best and a bullying attitude is allowed to continue to practice his misguided approach unchecked. We deserve a much higher standard of performance and accountability from teachers, administrators, and the Board.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:38 p.m.

@OHML - Why is this booing now "alleged"? In your previous post you stated As a parent of a child in that class, I can tell you that 1) the "boo" lasted approximately 3 seconds. Also, the.pdf summary of the incident also confirms there was booing. 3 seconds or notHow do you know what damage the booing did to the students that were booed especially if your child was not booed? I also noticed that the Mr. Madison was the one that sought out the school psychologist after his conversation with the class. But Im sure youre happy, the lunch bunch has been discontinued and some minority students are still drastically behind other students statistically. So much for no child left behind huh? The fact that Mr. Madison recognized an opportunity to show a group of students a successful African American man in a field of academia is amazing. The fact that most of these children may never have been exposed to something like this and this field trip gave them an opportunity to be has been lost with all of this my kid didnt get to go is awful and I think the adults are really out of control. As I said in a previous post, no school district is perfect and race issues still occur. Just a few years ago my daughter and other minority students were singled out regularly in an elementary gym class by a teacher. One day she took it even further and referred to them with a racial slur. These 10/11 year old elementary students at the time walked out of the gym class straight to the office to the principal to report the teacher and her behavior toward some of the students in the class. This teacher was moved back to her former school after she was on paid leave from this incident. Just so you knowmy daughter and the other students were crying too and you better believe she remembers exactly what that teacher said to her to this day and she will never be able to erase it from her memory.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:32 p.m.

@ doughboy, and a fine example you are setting for your child. This could have been a great learning experience. Instead the result will be another generation of whiners. Linda Ronstadt wrote you all a song - Poor poor pitiful me. This was a non-issue. Let it go.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:31 p.m.

What if there was an all white group???


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:16 p.m.

What would happen if a white principal was to take a "whites" only field trip?

Stephen Landes

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

Mr. Madison need not be fired, but I think it is appropriate to ask what you think the action taken would be if he was white and he had an exclusively white group. I can well imagine Ann Arbor being the target of Rev. Jackson and his entourage arguing forcefully for termination for the miscreant. By the way, how do you NOT know you're violating District policy as you gaze out over your exclusively mono-racial group of kids? Mr. Madison would have to have been blind to miss that -- unless that is his defense.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 2:03 p.m.

I think the problem is Mr. Madison made this a race issue. Had the lunch bunch been offered to children who had substanderd grades and performance on standerdized tests then it would be ok. He only made it for one group, that was a mistake. I also dont really have a problem with the group he made. I am much more concerned with his response and the apparent tirade he threw. Its not the group that is the issue. It is how Mr. Madison handled himself

Jay Thomas

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:56 p.m.

He doesn't have to take an anger management class for yelling at the students. Nothing happens to him for breaking the law. He's part of a protected group of people in our politically correct society. If the races were reversed here and it was some white guy who excluded black students and went into a tirade at them he would have been fired or at least sent for some mandatory racial sensitivity training and that's a fact! Too many people in this town believe only whites can be racist and want to put minorities on a pedestal of privilege.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:45 p.m.

I just have one question.....why are the citizens of A2 giving Mr. Madison a hard time about creating a group that gives children a positive opportunmity at the elementary level? I find this hypocritical when at the high school level in A2 there is a Black Student Union-only black students are allowed, they do fundraisers, field trips and have activities for their own club. There isn't a White Student Union and anyone can be a part of the student government. This precident has been set up for years in having clubs for not only academic areas or sports, but race/color. My next many of you are parents? How many of you made a mistake when addressing your child? Another child in your care? How many of you raised your voice at your child? Any of you see your child do or say something that reminded you of a mistake, a situation or problem you had growing up and took it personally? We are human, we all make mistakes, hopefully we are big enough, smart enough to learn from them. Many of you have never been in a classroom, school building or work with 25-700 kids on a daily basis. Many of you do not see what the students come to school with and without. You do not see the other issues involved in education beyond the numbers of the MEAP or other test scores. Mr. Madison and the other staff at Dicken see these other issues and have to address the whole child, every one of them. He was trying to help a few and made a mistake. Race will always be an issue, even when we say it is not. Ann Arbor is HUGE with the race issue and many do not come down from their high horse to see it. I was born and raised here. I do not recognize it anymore. I am not proud to say I am from A2-I am disappointed in it. These comments make it worse. Before you judge any situation, you need to be in that situation. You need to hear the entire story-all sides. We want to take care of our children, we want to believe in them and believe what they say. But with TV, video games, movies, music etc...our children are learning how to promote the negatives in our society. I am done...this entire thing has me sad, angry and dispointed in the 'well educated' community.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:44 p.m.

@TAM, you seem to be confused - the matter *is* resolved... by people who know more facts of the case than most of you having such strong reactions. I wasn't there so I have no grounds to say in either direction what *should* have occurred. But for those of you who were there and feel a grave injustice has been done, I can think of several better and more effective ways of voicing that opinion than to spout off here.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

@kelz: "Why would it be acceptable to you that children boo other children in a school setting?" I never said the "booing" was acceptable. The behavior obviously should have been addressed, and it was addressed at the time by the music teacher. I can say 100% that Madison's reaction to the alleged booing was reprehensible. I can think of a dozen better ways it could have been handled. Telling 10/11 year old kids in an angry, yelling voice that "every time a white person sees a black person walking down the street, they think the black person is going to steal something" did far more harm than a 3-second boo.

Bonnie L

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:33 p.m.

I have information regarding the situation at the Dicken School that may shed light at how the school arrived at the present day crisis. I would like to thank all who have opened up and provided me with documents and comments and some background on those involved at the school. This thank you is extended to all including the Dicken School Community, the AAPS Technical Support people, the Summer School Staff, and those from the Burns Park and Foresythe communities. I am willing to provide you with this informtion and will do so in the very near future. If anyone would like this information before hand, you can email me at

Jay Allen

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:23 p.m.

I was not going to say anything else.......but I cannot hold it back. @laverne as well as barb: Do you live in a vacuum? I mean really? For you to even try and say this is "embarrassing" and to infer this is yet another AA "Tempest in a Teapot" (to be cliche`) is wrong on so many levels. Discussing your comments alone could result in 100+ comments. This is a hot, heated debate that needs to be resolved. Period. If the tables were turned, we ALL KNOW where this would have ended. Unfortunately, the termination of this principle is the only way I can see it getting done.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

The achievement gap statistics speak for themselves and are an example of why groups like the lunch bunch are a positive thing. There are children that will benefit from activities like this but it always seems that if it doesnt include one person, group, gender, etcthen its illegal and must stop. All we end up having is a bunch of adults moaning about this and that when the children will just go back to where they were even though someone tried to make strides to catch them up to where they need to be academically. Too bad, so sad that other groups were not included but whos to say that was not the intent of the group at some point? Im sure with all this we will never know because I have a feeling any groups like this will be disbanded with the new school year approaching. The fact remains that black students are not consistently performing at the same level as other students. The current efforts are to pull kids from classes/activities that they enjoy or maybe even excel in to spend time relearning because they are not performing at their grade level. If you have ever had this option put out for your child because of their performance in school maybe you would think twice about your reaction to something like a field trip.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:12 p.m.

Susie Q; those teachers or principles should have been fired, and I think there would be the same amount of outrage, and probably more, had we heard about a teacher directing that type of language at a student. Your argument is just another bad example of the aaps.

Jay Allen

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:11 p.m.

***To AA.Com: A word of advice, take it or leave it. If you are going to have a poll, allow people to ONLY vote in the poll after they have made a post. 1234 votes and 106 comments? Many comments by the same folks? People will pop in and just click yes-no-undecided based on results and not on facts. First of all, ANY of you that THINK for one half of one second that if a WHITE principle had done this and NOTHING was done are a fool. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Sharpton would have flown in (first class) just to berate everyone involved. The ACLU will be involved and I am sure our fearless leader obama would have put his.02 in as well. If AA has brought itself so low that seeing this for what it is cannot be done, then AA is in deep. Real Deep. "Cash" in their first post said it dead on. Yes, I have read ALL of the comments and THOUGHT about them BEFORE posting. There are TWO distinct and very SEPARATE issues. Problems will arise (duh) when the two cannot be separated. Many other folks have said parallel comments and when you take the emotion out of this, the overwhelming of the posters mirrors the poll results. Lastly, @OHML. You have asked some very direct questions based on the FACT you were there. Many of us cannot comment as accurately as you. If I were you, I would demand answers to those questions. Your child was affected and your tax dollars are in play. I can only imagine the answers to those questions based on the fact it is obvious they were sidestepped.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 1:02 p.m.

@OHML Why would it be acceptable to you that children boo other children in a school setting? I dont care what the circumstances were. There were apparently students that were upset and decided to show this by booing their classmates! I cant see any time where this was acceptable and the teacher/ other adult(s) in the room should have recognized and corrected this behavior immediately. Did the students booing apologize to their classmates? Has anyone thought about how these kids felt that were booed? What they experienced has been overshadowed by so much negative. @Dan H - I would love to know why making efforts to bridge the achievement gap in a public school system is not commendable? As a rational person, I do not understand where you are coming from with this comment. As a parent I know where I need to fill in and provide a foundation and assistance to my children academically. When teachers recommend or give extra assistance or just a push to a child to move forward, excel and grow there is nothing wrong with that because that is what they are supposed to do. To make a conscious effort to keep that gap or maybe even widen it is how the statement you made sounds to me. @Davidian - I hate to break it to youbut the notion that just because you are in AAPS as a black student you have it better than anyone else is hilarious. There are issues in every school district and a lot have to do with race of the students and teachers and if you dont believe or understand that you need to wake up and join the rest of us in the real world. Sure, it would be nice if these things didnt happen, but they do. As a parent, I have to stay involved to make sure that my girls make it through school successfully because every teacher is not there for their best interestshowever most of the teachers I have worked with during my girls time in school are there to help their students be successful. I am an AAPS graduate along with my 3 siblings. It was a different journey for each of us but don't think that our race didn't play a part in some scenarios in school just because we are from AA. @DeeDee - EXACTLY

Eric Johnson

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

This is why ANN ARBOR is known as little california.

Susie Q

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

Many comments make the observation, "if this had been a white principal.......they would have been fired/disciplined/arrested, etc". I have worked for the schools for many years and can say that there HAVE been instances of white teachers/employees saying or doing something offensive to minority students....such as directing the "n word" toward African-American students. And in none of these cases was the employee fired. Since I am not privy to personnel files, I cannot comment if they were disciplined in any way, but I CAN tell you that they were not subjected to the ugly and self-righteous comments that are posted here. Mr. Madison is a caring administrator who has paid a terrible price for this incident.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:35 p.m.

@Barb... You are very perceptive. Yes, unfortunately, I do have several personal in-school & in-classroom experiences with Mr. Madison. He is a very angry man. However, since Mr. Madison has been rewarded for his behavior by being allowed to remain in his position, my children and myself are still subject to his tyranny. Mr. Madisons personnel file has more than one letter in it, as this Lunch Bunch incident is not his first scrape hes gotten into at AAPS. Mr. Madisons anger issues are too volatile take a chance with my childrens safety. could file a FOIA request for all of Mr. Madisons misdeeds so that we could all (including his supporters, like you) see what this man is really like.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

@RSJ Mike Madison needs to be punished and not forgiven. The man single handedly created a racial situation in one of our elementary schools and proceeded to bully a bunch of fifth graders, for what? To make himself feel better about the discrimination that he has perpetuated upon our children? I do not have a child at Dicken but had I; I would have made sure that my child was not going to be any where close to that school or the influence of Mike Madison. I find it appalling that AAPS seems to think that this conduct is appropriate. I get there is still, to this day, a learning gap. Is it really between races or is it more socioeconomic? I am still having a hard time understanding why the educational gap is still so prevalent. All of these children are in the same classes, with the same books and the same teachers. What he did was wrong and discriminatory in its self. Erasing the racial lines needs to come from some where and he just made the line in the sand even deeper. How long is it going to take to fix the issues that Mike Madison just inflicted on those children, their siblings and their parents? Why should any of our children trust authority to be fair when situations like this arise?

Mr. Tibbs

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:29 p.m.

OK just go to the poll on this issue. just like the voters in California were shut down by one activist judge, the activist "authority" in the school system we have here, is also self serving, instead of serving the children. go ahead and teach the children that their is no punishment for wrong doing. I just hope they don't consider the banking industry as thier jobs when they grow up. we have enough demonstrated ethics violators, and we are teaching children at this level that if you are a person of a certain segment of society, you get a free ride. wasn't that how it was in the 50's and 60's....only it was whites doing this to blacks? again two wrongs making it right? I guess someone had better prepare you for the 3rd wrong.... true social justice is simply this..... IF you are "CAPABLE" of "IT" and are willing to "WORK" for "IT" then you MAY attain "IT" no garantees, not one. but somehow the entitled segment of society, have found the help to turn this into a free "HANDOUT" instead of a level playing field. that is NOT social justice, that is taking from me to give to you. if you had a heart attack. would you prefer a doctor of any color that earned thier place in school through hard work and sacrifice? OR, an affirmative action doctor? who neither had the grades but had the qualities of the quota+

Mary D.

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:28 p.m.

@RSJ You must be unaware of the many parents "who are doing just fine and well in life" at Dicken who have all along been working in classrooms, hallways and in after-school activities (implemented and/or supported by Mr. Madison) to support students. Of all backgrounds. When your kids get to fifth grade, you will see all of these same parents fund-raising starting the summer before and all through the year to raise money for students (of all backgrounds) with financial needs to participate in special fifth-grade activities. I beg to differ that the efforts to close the achievement gap over the past two or three decades have all "irritat(ed) a whole population." My impression has never been such; most people realize that these efforts have the kids' best interests at heart. Finally, you may not be the only one who does not appreciate that the affected fifth graders had an uneasy, awkward ending to their years of elementary school. Rather than taking the opportunity of the teachable moment for our kids, the district assumed the hostage position and did nothing to communicate to the parents of the fifth graders or the fifth graders themselves until it was well past. Yeah, we're "moving on" to Slauson. Out of sight, out of mind.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:17 p.m.

To all those who say 'get over it', and 'move on', that is just what we have decided to do this morning. We are pulling our child out of AAPS and moving that child to private school. That is what is called 'voting with your feet'.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:16 p.m.

In general, white people are very quick to instruct social minorities to chill out and not react to perceived racial or cultural offenses and biases. It's as if they say, "You know, we all have to try to get through life, so don't exhaust everyone by making an issue out of every little slight. Stuff just happens." Then again, no group more vocally demonstrates racial hypersensitivity. This isn't a fairly recent development following the rise of civil rights and affirmative action policies, but a racial tradition with deep roots in the Old South. (To read about one of the nastier, more spectacular examples of historical white resentment, google the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898.) Resistance to minority entry into the middle classes goes back more well over a century and a half. Sure, Mr. Madison's emotional reaction in the classroom was a big faux pas. In any social situation, someone in authority, especially high authority, has to always understand that their expressed words and emotions carry the force of a weapon when speaking to others far down in the hierarchy. He should also have first ordered a dispassionate, informal investigation into the nature of the booing in the classroom when the Lunch Bunch students returned from their field trip. To what extent did this reaction reflect a flippant classroom custom sparked by field trip envy or sudden crowding, and how much of it resulted from white racial bias picked up in home life? Had he done so, Madison could have calmly provided the music classroom with a lesson on how a seemingly innocuous action swiftly takes on an abhorrent racial meaning when done, even unwittingly, in the wrong context. That said, the amount of wider attention given to this incident is simply crazy. When a principal imprudently blows their stack, awareness of that event will rarely leave the school grounds or the local PTO, let alone go viral in the national media. This has everything to do with someone stepping on the raw, exposed nerve of traditional white hypersensitivity and hypocrisy.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:13 p.m.

@AlwaysLate, it sounds like you know Mr. Madison's motives from personal experience - is there more info that you can share that would make this more clear-cut than what's in the linked PDF?

Mr. Tibbs

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:12 p.m.

look the race war is on. how much convincing do you need? just like everything else, human nature takes a nasty turn. in the eyes of the social justice league, two wrongs do indeed make a right. which opens the door for wrong nmuber three. while I haven't gotten to the poll results I am betting on another OJ situation. when will people learn? unless you hold YOURSELVES accountable nobody gains a thing. and it starts to today, with me. although it truly started a long time ago with "me" uphold my honor, give credit where credit is due, take NOTHING that doesn't belong to me, including praise, money, or credit. pay my taxes and be as honest as I can be with myself and those around me. I have to set an example for MY children, even if you refuse to make yourself an exaple for your own. somebody has to be the "example" of how to get "IT" wrong! own up. take your chances. every man deserves a second chance, what you do not deserve is a free ride, or a "look the other way" get out of jail free card. anyone who gives one to you is an idiot, an enabler. an enabler to bad behavior, and is this REALLY what you want to teach children of any color?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:12 p.m.

I sincerely hope that all of the outraged commentators here aren't merely putting their efforts into smashing out a few angry lines on the computer. The Ann Arbor community as a whole would benefit if every person that expressed disgust on this forum decided to spend some time this school year volunteering, their apparently ample time, at Peace Neighborhood Center, 826 Michigan, the Neutral Zone, or a similar organization and spend time *doing* something about helping kids. Does anyone want to prove their dedication to kids and education and make their actions match their comments? Go on, volunteer your time and show that you can put your money where your mouth is.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:06 p.m.

In order to fully understand this, we must look at this situation through Mr. Madison's eyes. So many people on here are using the argument that he is separating the students or what if this was a white princinpal...blah, blah, blah. Mr. Madison has a black man understands that there is a wide gap between black and white students in the schools and on top of that the curriculum reinforces white superiority. Take for example your history class, it is based on white history, the only time it mentions blacks is when it comes to slavery. If you have studied black child psychology, black children seeing negative images of theirselves in school and in society makes them feel inferior and thus that feeling of inferiority shows in the classroom and in their life. Mr. Madison took it upon himself as a black man to show these children that you are better than the negative images you see on TV, in your school books, and in your society. We can't expect whites, latinos, or any other race to do this, thus the reason we are still fighting to implement Afrikan History as part of the school curriculum across the country. However, that will not happen because the curriculum is based on white superiority; Mr. Madison knows that, I know that, and anyone who has power of observation knows that. For some of you all, the only black person you know of Martin Luther King and most of you like him because he preached non-aggression and was not a threat to you (my opinion), but for some reason Mr. Madison is since he is awakening the consciousness of these black children to be proud of theirselves and are as good and some cases better than other people. Oh yeah, if the principal was white, he would not have to take the white kids anywhere and leave the blacks behind, it is already happening under the school curriculum. Hotep


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:03 p.m.

@Laverne, you are so right. This is embarrassing beyond belief.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 12:01 p.m.

After reviewing the investigation information there is nothing noted that any booing actually took place. Did Mr. Madison really hear any booing or was it a rush to act on a rumor? Does anyone know? I don't believe that Madison's actions were part of anger issue upon hearing some booing. I believe that he didn't hear any booing, only a rumor, went home and developed his passionate speech and directed it at those children who had parents that Mr. Madison didn't like. Takes courage to be passionate.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:57 a.m.

@Laverne... You are absolutely wrong! No punishment has been meted out to anyone. A piece of paper in your personnel file means nothing to a person with issues like Mr. Madison. And public opinion means even less.. With his firmly held beliefshis anger issuesand his totally self-absorbed consciousness, only a punishment of substance (such as losing his job) will have a chance of getting his attention. Isnt funny how people who are in the wrong are always trying to move on??? Pay no attention to the guy doing wrong behind that curtainjust move on!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:33 a.m.

School teachers are not held to any standard in performance so why would we think school administration would be? Thanks school board!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:31 a.m.

This public excoriation is enough punishment for 3 lifetimes. Nothing to see here anymore folks, move on.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:15 a.m.

@ RSJ : Sometimes the PTO needs to respect and understand and support the voice of the community and ask for a change. There were more than, as you put it, "white" kids in the classroom. I know your children were not part of the group that was directly harmed and now have moved on to middle school. But, you should respect the feelings of the many at the school of all races that feel the continuing actions of the principal have caused many to lose all confidence that the school is good place for all children to be educated. RSJ, it is not the first incident and you should take a big step back and ask your self what if it did happen to my children? Go back and look at the history. Don't blame the community for demanding a change. Do something.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

Perhaps all of the principal's actions, both commendable and some not so much to be proud of, will someday allow his under achieving students to grow up, break the racial barrier and one day become a formidable Military Colin Powell, perhaps Secretary of State like Condeleeza Rice...or even President.....


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

@DeeDee, I have to agree. The district has real problems, not just one guy who took some disadvantaged kids to see a minority role model. Get over it. Since when cant Caucasian children be disadvantaged or low income or poor.

5c0++ H4d13y

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:09 a.m.

I hold this simpleton view that kids should not be separated along racial lines and when they are by the adults is sends the wrong messages to all the kids. We have enough self segregation in our society why would we confirm that tendency by institutionalizing it?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

@RSJ Wow. Was one of your children one of the "white" children who were "yelled" at but just "moved on"? And are you saying that parents at Dicken don't give to the less privileged children? I'm sure the school will be looking forward to more, more, more generous donations from you!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 11:04 a.m.

Is anyone really surprised at this outcome? The fact that this activity went on for so long before it was stopped is a perfect example of just how racist society really is.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

As an individual with two grandparents buried on a reservation, I feel it is well past the point of people pulling favortism or segregation and alienating other students. If he wants to encourage these students, then he should follow Dr.Kings example of integration and compassion for his fellow human beings. Rascism is a learned behavior,kids, until they see this kind of behavior, tend to be colorblind. This principal needs to be mentally and emotionally available to ALL of his students. Lead by example!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:47 a.m.

@RSJ... Please explain to us how Mr. Madison has been "punished". Did he lose his job? Did he get demoted? Did he get suspended? Did he receive any decision making/reflective leave? Besides a piece of paper in his personnel file, did any thing happen to him that would in any way make an impression on him? No to all of the above! And what do you mean by you people? Now thats not a very diverse attitude


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:45 a.m.

The community outrage is that the AAPS and BOE has forced the school community to live this nightmare. The action is good as long it is not at my school attitude prevails. I am sure that there was not any real and complete investigtion done by the AAPS. If there was, I would like to know how much was spent on such an investigation. Without an investigation it would be more evidence of the actions of AAPS are intended to deceive the city of Ann Arbor. Where does the trail of corruption lead. Was the investigtion made to find the facts or was it made from the perspective how to cover up the facts? The truth will make its way to the surface. Possibly, the or one of the local radio talk show hosts will make discovery. It could be that WJR is already involved. The AAPS has underestimated the will of the community to unify and do what is right for all of our children and the presence of the principal will continue to be a problem. The AAPS people that wittnessed the incident at the school have conveniently left their positions at the school. The classroom teacher has retired. A teacher at the school who had a child in the classroom has transferred to another school. I wonder how much pressure was put on these people to leave the school so to help cloud over the real story. Outrage! The truth will come and the truth is always good. Suggestion of healing of the community is an indication of injury. The actions of the AAPS is the source of the injury. The community did not inflict this injury upon themselves. If the AAPS is sincere in their request for action to heal then the AAPS needs to remove the principal to establish the first step in the healing process and model some accountablity and responsibility. As it stands now the AAPS has not accepted responsibility. The community caused the problem. Outrage.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:43 a.m.

This makes me sick if he was white he would have been on the news with a white robe and a burning cross in the back ground its time people quit hiding behind race using it as a cruch. I think Mr Madison should be fired aaps should be sued for letting this happen.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:33 a.m.

another upsetting thing: When is the community going to care about ALL the people in it? It's sickening that so many people who are doing just fine and well in life still need more, more, more. When are you people going to see that we need to do something for the less fortunate people who need direct attention and purposeful interventions? African-Americans, Latino, and a growing number of Arabs (due to Iraqi war and fleeing) fall into this achievement gap. It doesn't mean that no other groups have learning problems, it's just that these particular groups are ALWAYS scoring way behind all the rest. WE, as a community, need to care about the people that live around us.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:26 a.m.

I think that is really hurting our community right now. Mr. Madison made a big mistake and he has been punished! All the comments that his immediate community and family need to read about him are awful! He has paid the price, and I assure you he will not do this again. Figuring out how to close the achievement gap has been an issue for over 30 years, and we have yet to find a way to do it without irritating a whole population. The Dicken community is a rich, diverse one. My children are proud to be Dicken Dolphins and are excited about starting a new school year. All this talk is a sure way to continue hurting our children and affecting the morale of our community. Not to mention the morale of the wonderful teachers that will be teaching our children. It was a very rough way to end the school year, and we need to start the school year off on a positive note. The whole group of "white" children that were "yelled" at have moved on to middle school. We need to move on. I give Mr. Madison another chance.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:13 a.m.

@leaguebus, to clarify--you find "Mike's" behavior in the classroom perfectly acceptable since it was done to privileged kids who apparently all have high stations in life?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

@Dan H, thank you for pointing out that there are other races besides blacks that have had to struggle with discrimination. Some of these commenters are missing the point. The principal made it about race, but the outrage from parents and students was about the principle. There is doubt that the principal did a discriminating act by starting a club that would "discriminate" against anyone outside of one race to join. There is no doubt that the principal then justified his actions based off his personal interests and belief system. This is only one incident out of a dozen that LeeAnn Dickenson-Kelly has brushed under the rug. I believe majority of the people are outraged because of how the principal behaved. By yelling at the other students, he told them by his actions that their feelings did not matter. He told those students that being discriminated against is right. What this principal did was promote discrimination to his whole school by his actions and behavior. As an Asian-American watching this tennis match go back and forth, I find both whites and blacks equally prejudice and discriminating. Please, stop focusing on just color, but action. Adults in the education system should be examples to our children. This story reminded me of when I was a student myself and told my teacher how children were teasing me about my slanted eyes. That teacher told me to ignore them. As a child, that teachers ACTION told me that it was okay for other students to call me racial names, make faces teasing me about my eyes, and asking me if I knew karate. No child likes to feel left out or singled out. I learned early on that educators were not always right. If it wasn't for media being awareness to issues like this, my children could be in the same situation as I was decades ago.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

From Dickinson Kelly's Report: "Mr. Madison singled out student, (retracted) on April 29th by removing him from the classroom to the hallway and outside the outer school doors to discuss his participation in the booing incident. Mr. Madison explained that he wanted to insure privacy for (the student) since the classroom door across the hallway was open." Perhaps one of the Dicken parents might single out Mr. Madison, remove him from his office to the hallway and outside the outer school doors to discuss his participation in the "bullying" incident. It could be simply explained away the the parent wanted to insure privacy for Mr. Madison during such a "courageous conversation". I would suggest that Ms. Dickinson Kelly would not look so favorably upon such a scenario!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

@Leann, blacks are an underperforming group in the AA schools. Mike tried to do something about it and set off a group of people who have no reason to complain about their status in life. Their kids perform twenty percent better and easily go on to college. We as a society need to try to make all kids perform at adequate levels in our schools. Sometimes it takes out of the box thinking to do this. Part of the reason that it has been so hard to lessen the achievement gap is that out of the box thinking is discouraged by the privileged majority. The AA public schools have been trying many different strategies and have spent a lot of money over the last twenty years to bridge this achievement gap and so far, nothing has worked. Should we give up on this? My kid is OK, forget about others, who are just as smart, but for some reason, don't do as well. A lot of things need to be tried to lessen this gap. Keep trying Mike, one of these ideas,may work.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:58 a.m.

So this sends the message that it's ok for us to have 'white only' trips and no one should be concerened right? Right, you try that and see how fast Sharpton and Jackson are in Ann Arbor. Civil rights? Didn't see them show up for this story. Wonder why?!?! This is just another story that kills the AAPS system. Will be hard to support any of them when this behavior is allowed.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:56 a.m.

Cash is right that this is two separate, but related, incidents. And I have a problem with both. First, I find it hard to believe that there are not poorly-performing children of races other than African-American. If the Lunch Bunch was aimed at poorly-performing students, why were all of them African-American? Second, a 40-minute harangue by a large person in a powerful position of authority is, indeed, bullying and the response of the students proves that. I don't care what the topic is about, to reduce students to tears and require the services of a school psychologist is unconscionable. Take the race issue out of the equation and anybody could see that. If I had a child at Dicken, I'd be looking for another school. But, if there is one thing I've learned in all my years dealing with Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti schools, it's that the parents have more clout than they realize. If they are upset, they should hie themselves down to the next school board meeting, prepared to be vocal. Bullying behavior by any administrator should be disciplined and if the district administration doesn't have the spine to do that, then the school board is the final authority. And it shouldn't take a lawsuit to make those board members realize they have an obligation to the community to protect children from bullying - no matter who the bully might be.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

Taken From the Dickens Parent Handbook Our elementary schools are places where most children feel safe. However, there are times when your child may feel threatened or frightened by someone. We continue to focus our efforts at school on teaching children how to solve problems without fighting, hurting and other violent acts. Training in conflict management is taught at every school. We urge you to let your child's teacher or principal know if your child expresses any concern for his/her safety at school. Bullying - Whether as a punch or as subtle as a smirk, bullying is a serious problem in American schools, where one in seven children is either a bully or has been victimized by one. Bullying can leave permanent physical and emotional injuries. As I wrote earlier, something was taught that day


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

simply put if this were a white principle with a white only field trip the man would have been fired.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:42 a.m.

I just read the PDF, shouldn't there be more to this? No statements by the teachers in the room? No documents showing what was discussed in these planning meetings? I still don't understand why no outside investigation was conducted, just as an ethical precaution. I'll bet December can't come soon enough for Dr. Roberts!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.

@ OMHL, Is there a way that we the taxpayers can find out what really happened inside of that classroom and also outside of the building where the lone child was taken by this man?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

I agree that there needs to be a story on what exactly was said in that "courageous" discussion. If it were a white principal, he'd be fired. I'm not racist, and I would have just the same opinion if a white principal did it. It's not a matter of WHO, but that it DID happen. Either way, it's wrong.

David Jesse

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:27 a.m.

@Deb: About halfway down the story is a box called related content - it has a PDF of the report in it.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:25 a.m.

OHML, I want to know what was said., is their a link to the actual report?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

@DeeDee, I have to agree. The district has real problems, not just one guy who took some disadvantaged kids to see a minority role model. Get over it. It appears that for many people this is a big irritation in their lives. We are lucky to have so few problems.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:20 a.m.

Relating to the previous article on how much ann arbor school employees make, Id like to know how much Mr. Madison does. He is not worth a penny of it. Three pages to explore the incident? If they did not want to fire him they should have put him in a job where his interaction with the children was limited. I would like to know more about his 40 minute speaking engagement with the children (If I am correct he told a muslim girl "you dont know what racism is.") RIDICULOUS If there is a lawsuit filed, I can guarantee the briefs will be a lot longer then three pages.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:17 a.m.

@Lorie, I agree! :-) And adult intimidating children is never appropriate. But an adult paid by taxpayers and given a position of authority over those children and their teachers....inexcusable, unacceptable and yet I see no explanation of why the principal was not at minimum given the assignment of anger management classes. He's not too old to learn. Seems like going to his office and planning programs for children to discuss race together would make sense. Even lousy parents know that yelling at children does nothing but create an atmosphere of distrust. Forget my children and grandchildren....a person showing this kind of inability to control his emotions...I wouldn't allow him to babysit for my cat.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

If this were a WHITE principil who had a WHITES ONLY FIELD trip he would be FIRED. No questions asked talk about discrimination. Pround to be a White Hetrosexual Male no I am not racists nor do I have anything against anyone in general. Im just stating a fact.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:09 a.m.

@OHML and Editors of this "blog"...what was the content of this "courageous" discussion? Why hasn't it been reported? From what I can see by the questions OHML has put out, the content of this "courageous discussion" was wholly inappropriate and incredibly inflammatory and with one kid, very personal. AAPS...really? Are you kidding?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:09 a.m.

People, get over it already, and stop creating a tempest in a teapot. A group of disadvantaged little kids in grade school who were voluntarily giving up their lunch hour (!!!) got a chance to meet a role model (and they couldn't have found anyone better than Alec Gallimore by the way)for their effort, and we are begrudging them that? Their classmates behaved badly when they got back, and shouldn't have to reflect on their behavior? A bunch of black kids booing white kids would have gotten in trouble. Here the white kids behaved badly, and it's the fault of the teachers, or the kids who gave up their lunch breaks? Get a grip, and get this over and done with.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

@Ghost, I understand your point, but providing equal rights means treating this principal based off his actions, not purpose. As other posters commented, he is an example to the students. What is he telling all the other students and not just white students? Blacks are not the only minority in this country.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:02 a.m.

The people of Ann Arbor are fools. How else can this situation be tolerated? Enough of the white guilt already.....


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

I guess Mr Madison played the race card again, and got off without suffering any consequences for his illegal actions, as well as his display of very poor judgement and very poor decision making skills. He is not fit to be a principal of a school, if cant handle such a situation properly. Also, hasnt he been in trouble before at other schools, where he has faced disciplinary action?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 9 a.m.

only mistake he made was not clarifying his reasons. Of course he could have done so and the white kids still wouldn't have understood. Maybe this is an indication that if teachers are going to setup voluntary groups together to explore racial issues at this age, then more effort needs to be given to making it a diverse group. Afterall, one could argue at this time that people of color in this country are at least as culturally diverse as their caucasian counterparts, but somehow I doubt that's what the kids and their parents were complaining about...


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:56 a.m.

He lacks the professionalism required to perform his duties in a manner suited for this position, he knew the law and repeated the offenses. Had he been white his employment would be terminated immediately. The Administration is only as good as it employs.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:49 a.m.

If Mr. Madison was white, he would have been fired by now. The liberal mindset, with their "good intentions", is corrupting the educational system leading to undereducated children. That is why I put my child in private education.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

While there is no evidence to suggest that Mr. Madison knowingly and intentionally violated the Districts Non discrimination Policy #2050 and Article I, Section 26 of the State Constitution." Hmmm...ignorance of the rule and law does not excuse lack of punishment. Whether he knowingly or unknowingly did it, he broke not only the rule, but also the law. He needs to be punished. If it was a white principal taking only white students on a field trip and leaving the black students behind, that white principal would have either been severely punished, or would have been fired.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:42 a.m.

racism is about is a learned behavior, not genetic and it's pathetic that these students are learning it firsthand in a town like A2...

Elizabeth Nelson

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:38 a.m.

It's depressing how badly the district handled this. It's clearly a hot button issue for a lot of people in the broader community, but I'd have hoped that the professionals leading the district could show a bit of spine in addressing the facts objectively as they exist (without this fuzzy emotional business of "he meant well"). We now know that in this town, the quickest route to getting away with gross incompetence is to say, "Oh, but I was working on the ACHIEVEMENT gap! You support efforts to address THAT, don't you? Or don't you believe in it... are you UNsupportive of minorities?!!" This incident managed to make Ann Arbor look stupid on both ends of the political spectrum. National reports of it (and the crazy "discrimination" themed comments on this site) would lead liberals to think that our town is full of a bunch of paranoid white bigots. On the flip-side, conservatives would conclude (from the cowardly response of our BOE and administrations) that we bend over backwards to meet "knee-jerk" liberal impulses, regardless of the facts. It is possible to put Madison under scrutiny without putting the whole of 'achievement gap' policies under fire. Frankly, I think the whole business of tackling the achievement gap has lost a lot of credibility now that we know just how far into Crazy Town the district is willing to go in the name of it.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:37 a.m.

As a parent of a child in that class The parents know what was said in that class, none of which has been reported OHML Are your questions rhetorical? Do you have the answer to them? Do tell.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:36 a.m.

As a minority, I find this just as inappropriate to do as if a white principal took out 30 under privileged white students. My question to the district is what about other ethnicities? I cant wait until there is a lawsuit like Willow Run has for reverse discrimination.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:34 a.m.

Perhaps the reason is that he's lined up to be the next superintendent....


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

@Cash - you and I agreed and disagree often in these comments. In this case, we agree completely! Right on! It is about two separate issues - the lunch bunch/ race-exclusive field trip and a second issue with a large bully entering a classroom and apparently berating children enough to make then cry. The first issue is a matter of discussion that includes race. The study group seems like a reasonable attempt to solve a problem. The exclusiveness of the field trip was poor judgement and something that could be corrected. A principal with the authority of students and teachers who berates children to the point of tears AND possibly needed counseling is a big bully. Really big, out-of-control bully. He should not be in that position anywhere ever again. He can call it "courageous" if he want. From the description in the report, that classroom was unsafe for children and had a huge bully in it. I would not return my kid to that situation at all in any way. Not to be bullied by an adult. Nope, nada. @Ghost: I think your first two posits are absolutely incorrect - if it had been a white principal...I would guess they would have been fired on the spot for making a race exclusive field trip and certainly if he'd entered a classroom to berate children. If it had been white kids harassed, I think, as demonstrated by his behavior, this principal would have done nothing because there isn't an achievement gap or a problem he was trying to solve.

mike from saline

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:18 a.m.

Someone grab a broom! Someone lift the rug! I posted those comments last spring when this story 1st became public......I rest my case.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:15 a.m.

@ Cash & Davidian Well said both of you. I can't wait to see how ERMG spins a response!

Top Cat

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:12 a.m.

Again, education is too important to give the public sector an effective monopoly over it. Madison's cronies in the public school bureaucracy saw fit to protect one of their own. Anywhere else he should have been and would have been fired or demoted. He is unfit to be a principal.

Concerned Citizen

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:11 a.m.

Race? The important issue here is accountability. There is a general lack of accountability in the public sector, and as tax-paying citizens we should be more vocal about it. We are paying these peoples salaries!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

Cash, you are right on. As a parent of a child in that class, I can tell you that 1) the "boo" lasted approximately 3 seconds, and 2) Madison's rant lasted 4o minutes. The parents know what was said in that class, none of which has been reported. To those who think it was "no big deal", I ask these questions: What was the first question he asked the boy who he removed from the building? What was the second question he asked that same boy? What did Madison say white people think of black people when they see a black person walking down the street? Per Madison, how do white police officers treat black men in Ann Arbor? How long did he yell before he took a single question? When the young girl participated in the so-called "courageous conversation", what was Madison's reaction? What was Madison's explanation of why there were snipers on the roof of the Michigan Stadium? When you can answer these questions, you'll have an idea of why the kids were crying to the point of needing a psychologist's intervention, and why the parents were so outraged.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 8 a.m.

Do you think the children he berated in the classroom feel the same way about Mr. Madison? I, for one, care little about how the students feel about Mr. Madison personally. I am concerned about how they feel about many other things though. I think Mr. Madison abused his power, but more importantly he missed an opportunity to speak to inequality and privilege; providing tirade instead of truth. The real problem is that he could not have done this less indelibly than he did. Mr. Madison created a powerful moment for these kids; one not missed by a single student, regardless of race. He then filled that moment with unchecked passion instead of reason. He taught those kids that day the problem is what?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

"This exchange caused some students to become upset with other students while others felt the conversation was personally accusatory. Mr. Madisons tone was described as passionate and intense by some and as yelling by others. Some students became clearly upsetcrying-- and felt singled out. Madison also took one student out of the class, into the hallway and ultimately outside the outer school doors to talk to him about the incident." ______________________ bully noun 1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. ________________________ When this behavior is spotted in a child, what do we do? It's a danger signal. It should be reported to school authorities. (maybe the principal?) There are courses offered now about child bullying and the tragic results. What is done when this bullying behavior is spotted in a public school principal? Ignore it.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

We had one child left in public school. That child will now go to private school this fall. All the apps were already sent in. But this event has helped us make the decision. Good bye Ann Arbor schools.

I'm Ron Burgandy

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:50 a.m.

He breaks a state law and doesn't get punished? In my opinion, exclusion/inclusion based solely on race is not OK on any level. Him yelling at the non-black kids because of a mess he created is unacceptable as well. I fully expect a lawsuit since the AA school district is apparently incapable dealing with this.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:45 a.m.

"Mr Murrow's Ghost:" If you think that white people are universally priveleged, I suggest you take a trip to Appalachia and see how they live and how they are treated. Conversely, black students in the AAPS system have a huge advantage over white folks from Inkster or Detroit. This isn't a race issue. This is a class issue. Mr. Madison broke the law. Instead of diverting the issue with attacks against other contributors, you may want to think about why so many people in Ann Arbor (by far the most liberal city I've ever lived in) are angry. This situation should be a warning, a sign of the times: that people are fed up with discrimination of ANY form. Why? Because it is unfair and un-American, and it damages all people economically and psychologically. It doesn't take a PhD to see that.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:39 a.m.

I think it sets a bad example if discrimination is left unaddressed, or rather excused because of intent. On the other hand the intent SHOULD be considered in punishment. I think he should have to apologize to the students left behind and their parents. As for the achievement gap, which is the REAL on-going crime.... AAPS seems to do little to push students to achieve more than they are willing to do regardless of race. But the on-going gap seems to be a willingness to accept lower performance from black students. Principal Madison, at least, does not seem willing to sit back and accept that. The soft racism of low-expectations is the greatest challenge to the African-American community now.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:36 a.m.

MSC, Do you think the children he berated in the classroom feel the same way about Mr Madison? Doubt it. Therein lies the bite.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:34 a.m.

I think it is time to move on people! Let's stop the negative comments and consider the exciting new school year. There are many excited teachers and children who our proud of their school. This negative press can be very demoralizing. Do I agree with what happened, no. The school board, elected by the community dealt with it. Move on! Mr. Madison I am sure is a wonderful, enthusiastic, and devoted principal.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:32 a.m.

If this was all about erasing the achievement gap, where where the Latino students?


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7:22 a.m.

if a white principal would have done this there would have been riots in the streets. it is disgusting that he gets away with this because of the color of his skin and the lack of guts by the administrators.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 7 a.m.

I don't care if the principal was disciplined about the field trip. Was he disciplined for his behavior in the classroom? If it was a typical principal discussion, why the need for a school psychologist? Why the need to bring in experts from the U to talk to the children? It sounds like these comments are going to get skewed into a black discrimination/white privilege discussion. What about proper conduct for a principal? At the very least, the anger management suggestion would have at least made it "appear" that upper management cares about all students.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:58 a.m.

Thanks Don Bee so this principal who is a professional is a member of AAAA. Here is what is said about this organization: Ann Arbor Administrators Association From ArborWiki Jump to: navigation, search "The Ann Arbor Administrators Association is a collective bargaining unit which represents principals, assistant principals, class principals, deans, assistant deans, directors, and assistant directors of schools in the Ann Arbor Public Schools." I think I'm getting sick,they have a bargaining unit? All I can say is two words "Charter Schools". Now we can see where all the problems are coming from "protectionism". What a joke a person with at least a "Master's Degree" needs protection a school principal. I think I'm going to watch "sausage made", good luck America, Good luck!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

Amazing to me how so many cannot accept the findings of the investigation. Personally, I believe being raked over the coals in this forum is more than enough discipline for Mr. Madison. Let's move on.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

Good post Cash, sums it up very nicely to me.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:55 a.m.

ERMG, You want to make this a race issue. I see it as an abuse of power issue. A public school principal has power over the teachers and the students. He enters a teacher's classroom and berates the students at length. He has admitted in previous articles that he lost his temper. This is a man entrusted with the safety and well being of our children. You don't think he should learn how to control his temper? What guarantees are in place that he won't lose it again, possible in an even more violent way? Words can be used as weapons. And from all reports, this man brandished the weapon of words upon children under his control. Whine about race til the cows come home. This is not about race for me. This is about abuse of power and bullying of children by a man entrusted with the care of those children.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:54 a.m.

For all of you who are accusing Mr. Madison of discrimination consider this. African American students at all grade levels in the AAPS District are discipline and suspended at a rate far more than any other group of students, yet you don't hear the African American community crying about discrimination and filing lawsuits, etc. As a matter of fact, you don't hear anything from the AA community about this problem. When kids are not in school, they are not learning and when they are not learning they are most apt to get into all sorts of devilment. Oh well. It's only black kids we are talking about.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:52 a.m.

Local, Black students are used to being left behind. When we are born into the world that is a strike against from time of birth we become aware of our differences and the way society treats us we're treated unjustly. Now all you people that are still angry about a field trip that helped students lets not look at them as black students it would seem pretty normal if the color black wasn't involved. Where i went to school years ago my principle was tarred and feather, I was called the N word everyday of my younger years so i'm speaking from the experience. We had to fight to get a black person on the homecoming float, or for black studies.. I would like to know where are the black parents their voices need to be heard!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:41 a.m.

Also, undeserved scrutiny about the Pacific Group's Educational Program? I think a quick google search will show they already are under scrutiny. and @ ghost, it sounds like you took a page out of PEG's playbook.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:34 a.m.

@ViSHa- I was told by the Attorney General's office, in response to another violation of state law. "there are a lot of state laws that no one enforces". Thus, you cannot look to the state to enforce these laws. Unfortunately, the only way to enforce such laws is to file a civil suit, which is very expensive for both parties.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:27 a.m.

I also agree with Cash. Has Mr. Madison even apologized to the students for his behavior? Has he accepted responsibility and promised that similar behavior will not happen again? Shame on Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley for not disciplining the principal. As an excersize in empathy, imagine if the races were reversed. If the principal had been white and he were speaking to black students. He would have been fired so fast your head would spin.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:25 a.m.

Since there was a state law violation, was there an outside investigation, or only a district investigation? Did the three page report include interviews with the adults in the classroom during the "courageous dialogue"? Also, this is the first I've heard that cautions and concerns were raised---his letter to the parents said the staff embraced the "lunch bunch" initiative and the decision to enact it was not made in "isolation by myself".


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:24 a.m.

@ghost, are you saying it is okay to violate state laws and not get punished? You can claim privilege all you want, but this principal just got off with no punishment after breaking a state law. Who had the privileges in this case?

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:15 a.m.

Unbelievable. He has basically admitted he has no interest in educating 80% of his students, yet there is no discipline. I have lost confidence in the Ann Arbor schools.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:10 a.m.

Isn't it amazing how rules and laws are only applied when it is convenient? To be more direct, are only applied against the little guy. The A2 Schools are sure doing a nice job of teaching the kids about double standards.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:07 a.m.

My heart goes out to all the children caught in the middle of this mess. None of it should have happened. I hope this is the last time this sort of thing happens and that no parent files a lawsuit. AAPS does not have the money to spare. There are better, legal ways to deal with the achievement gap. @jonhall - The Principals are all part of the Ann Arbor Administrators Association (AAAA).


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:05 a.m.

@racerx, sorry here, but if this situation was reversed, a white principal taking just white students on a field trip and having just white students at a lunch group, then berating just African American students for booing, that white principal would be in deep trouble and YOU know it. If you try to argue that the white principal wouldn't be in trouble, you are lying to yourself. The outrage over the achievement gap is a completely different issue all together. We are talking about the actions of a man in charge of an elementary school. In all honesty, I think AAPS avoided disciplinary action because they are afraid of hearing from Jackson and Sharpton as the two of them stomp to Ann Arbor in defense of an African American principal being disciplined (even though he violated State law) As another post from a different article stated, could Ben Edmondson take the appropriate action and make the right decision as next Superintendent??


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 6:01 a.m.

Anger management I like that idea. I like the idea of "cash" being principal even more, it appears he/she has some "common sense" which may be lacking in some peoples mind. Good deeds may go unnoticed, but bad deeds need to be "punished".


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 5:46 a.m.

My 2 cents: To me, it's two separate issues: 1. The choice the principal made of taking only black students to go on field trips and belong to his "group." 2. The berating of non-black students by the principal after the field trip. The school administrators choose to lump those two things together and say he had good intentions. I would say in number 1....good intentions can be assumed. In number 2....his emotions took over and he used the power of his position to bully the students he left in class. This is a person in high authority, with a lot of power. He was in charge of this school, and the teachers and students in it. For number 1, I give him the benefit of the doubt. For number 2, he should have been reprimanded. I also think he should be required to take courses on anger management. What will prevent him from losing it again? Is something in place for that? And people wonder why charter schools are so popular now.


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 5:37 a.m.

One question is Principal Madison protected by the MEA? If so it is very unlikely they could have done much anyhow in the way of punishment. The real Scary part is he is a "principal" and should be held to a higher degree of responsibility. He was promoted to that position I hope at least because of his skills. Last I knew being "politically correct" was a skill practiced by most principals. Oh my, when I think of the damage he may have done to those students that were left behind. He must not have heard about the "Federal Law of no child left behind". Exposure to lawsuits, that is the main concern now after the damage to the left behind students has been done. Has Principal Madison apologized for his behavior? Will he still be able to be productive in his current position as principal? We will no doubt continue to get national attention for this incident, the press does follow up. It will be interesting as to how all this plays out in the future. I hope this is a learning experience for all of us, and does not end up being so very costly, the district really needs the money, not the attorneys!


Tue, Aug 17, 2010 : 5:33 a.m.

As I said before, the trip was not the best decision. However, some in A2 won't be satisfied until Mr Madison is fired. Can't wait to read some of those forthcoming posts. However, where is the outrage when the A2 Public Schools consistently shows achievement gaps between certain student groups and has been ongoing for decades? Oh, I hate to assume the answer. However, the poll results pretty much tells me all I need to know.