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After threats and rumors, principal considers whether to stay or go

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UPDATE: She’s staying! (Read her comment below.) 

First an angry mother spoiled a graduation brunch by threatening the principal and poking a finger in her face. Then an e-mail letter circulated with wild allegations of corruption and mismanagement. Oh, and just before that, someone stole a raft of new laptop computers from a classroom.

After a month of highs and lows –which, on the up-side, included a visit from the Rev. Jesse Jackson – Yetunde Reeves has been thinking long and hard about whether she should remain the principal of West Oakland’s EXCEL High School, a new small school at McClymonds.

“I want to go to work not looking over my shoulder,” Reeves said. On the other hand, she said, “I love my staff, and we’ve been working to build something together.”

According to police, a woman named Anitra Corbin was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery. The brunch incident was apparently sparked by news that Corbin’s child wouldn’t be able to participate in graduation after not passing the high school exit exam – a districtwide policy. Reeves said the parent was banned from the school for seven days.

“This is a day when we’re celebrating kids’ graduations and now they’ve seen me accosted by a parent,” she said.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Yetunde Reeves

    I have decided to remain in OUSD because I believe in the vision and mission of EXCEL HS. We have had an amazing 2 years and the best is yet to come. Change takes time and of course there are challenges in any school environment. There are so many students who have inspired me by their commitment to their education. Also, I have a staff who believes in kids’ ability to learn and we are a family. This situation was unfortunate for me, as well as the parent. I believe in an open door policy and I hope that parents begin to see that our school wants to work in partnership with the entire community.

    Everyone makes mistakes and I forgive the parent for her actions. I appreciate the support from the community, but I would like to return focus to the real issue and that is, educating students and preparing them for college!

  • Jackie Le

    I am a student of EXCEL High School, and i will be junior this coming school year. I love my school, and i am proud of my school under the leadership of my principal Yetunde Reeves. Reeves has worked really hard to help changing the community that we’re living. I can see everthing she did is the benefit of the school and community. To me, she is the best principal that i’ve never had before. She is always be my roll model to me. I am just so happy about knowing that she is staying.

  • http://Yahoo.com Anitra Corbin

    Let’s set the record straight! It was’nt that my son could’nt participate in the ceremony that upset me. It was the two day notice. In March we received the Senior Activity Notice. Yes it did say there were seven student, that had’nt pass the Exit Exam. Never once in three months, were we advised of the names. They let the babies participate in every activity that were paid for. Senior Prom, Senior Packages w/ invitations that went to the East Coast & Down South. (Can you all imagine how much those Plane Tickets Cost)!! Then two days before she ( Miss Reeves) takes the most important part of dolng all those yrs in school away. Mind you I am very proud of my son! He had more than enough credits. It was the math portion he did’nt pass. With proper notice there would’ve been any problems! I only went to jail due to Miss Reeves saying ” I PUNCHED HER IN THE JAW” Which was’nt true! Only after being arrested for NOT punching her is when I said “***** SINCE IM GOING TO JAIL FOR NOT TOUCHING YOU I’M GOING TO WHEN I GET OUT” Yes it was’nt the appropriate thing to do or say. But neither where her actions either! Maybe in the years to come all Principles will give the babies & their families PROPER NOTICES!!!

  • former hills parent

    Ms. Corbin: Although I agree that the school should have kept you informed of the status of your child in regards to the high school exit exam. However where were you that you did not know that your child had not passed the CAHSEE? This is a requirement for all students. It sounds to me as though you were neglecting your own responsibility to know how your child is doing in school. It also appears that both the school and family were negligent, not to mention the student who also knew that he had not passed the exam. There is plenty of blame to g around.

  • Nextset

    Ms. Corbin: If your kid can’t pass a simple test – he/she is (apparently) out of the graduation activities. Why should we care about your notices – ifr the kid doesn’t pass, no party. Until you have the pass notice in hand, you are NOT included in the graduation. Simple, really.

    And if you think anybody is impressed by your physical threats to school staff.. we aren’t. As far as I’m concerned the student should be excluded as undesirable when their family does this sort of thing. But I’m sure the nice lady will stick with you and your kid regardless – and just keep trying to help you despite yourselves and your behavior. They do that, yhou know. Help you as much as they possibly can no matter what.

    Which I wouldn’t.

    Happy New Year. Hope your student made it past that test.

  • Nancy

    Why is it that when a parent behaves as described against a principal that all of the sudden somebody does something to address the overall issue of bullying anybody in a school environment?

    While the OUSD Wellness Policy is the only place that states “Bullying in any form will not be tolerated,” it again appears to be in reference to Students.

    What about all the adults (unions-and other 3rd parties, employees and community) contributing to negative school climate in essence tying the hands of people through up-down-across tactics that subject people (bound by “professionalism” ethics and laws) to be subject to repeated and severe instances of bullying and other unhealthy conduct in the Schools? (Ref: 15 year detailed ledger item booklet good for a book signing)

    As just reported recently by AP, Oakland is the 5th most violent city in the United States, so it is no wonder that dumb “gang-like” bullying and other activities have entered into the School Culture here?

    For a start, why don’t the powers that be (Board members of both City of Oakland and OUSD) watch the following MPEG many times to get a glimpse of making more effective policies that address all in the City and School District Employment environments not just students:

    http://workplacebullying.org/press/bnet1108.html

    again, the OUSD Wellness and School Climate policies need to be expanded to read “any person” and make all protected classes from any form of harassment and bullying…then, a “ManAlive” program for men, women, families, and school site professional development groups needs to be instituted immediately, if we are serious about eroding Oakland’s violence and keeping up with District policy about making consequences for such behavior, as purportedly like Ms. Corbins, behavior rather than punitive.

    Thank you very much!!!

  • Nextset

    Nancy: Most ghetto school districts have police forces with armed officers who can shoot to kill when needed. When feral family members come onto campus to attack students and staff, they are to be always be met with greater force than they use – up to and including deadly force. End of problem.. simple, really.

    If you know Ms. NoClass is going to show up at 3pm you have an officer present (may or may not be uniformed). If Ms. NoClass shows unexpectedly she gets an appointment 30 min hence which allows time for an officer to arrive. Once Ms. NoClass has shown herself to be feral she never gets an appointment with school staff without security present. In some cases, when Ms. NoClass was first noticed as being a possibly feral person her name was given to police services who did a records check and without explaining every reason, Police services recommended they be present for her appointments. Ditto for Mr. Registered Rapist Bio-Dad.

    If Ms NoClass commits a violation of state law such as Criminal Threats (really easy to commit) she’s arrested and booked at the county jail. If she resists she’s tasered or whatever then hogtied and carried to a paddy wagon. It’s simple, really.

    Piedmont Unified, not being a ghetto school, probably doesn’t have a police department. They can 911 to their city police around the corner who would happily provide superior service.

    The only problem the schools (and staff) have here is their own unwillingness to pull the trigger on violent people. And while ghetto schools look at the problem one way, upper class schools sure see things differently – they don’t tolerate such people. And there is no pretense that feral people are normal or to be treated as normal.

  • John

    So Ms. Corbin, he’s your “baby!!!” huh. I’m overly impressed by the longevity of your early stage maternal instinct! Does your “baby” know you were arrested? Does he know that behaving like his mama could get him arrested?

    Babies are just so darn impressionable, as evidenced by so much of what they become being so much like their parents. Of course this isn’t the kind of indelicate observation shared with parents by school board politicians or those serving at their pleasure, or by charter and public school enrollment administrators concerned with student recruitment and controversy avoidance. It’s not in their best employment interest to connect the behavioral generation dots for sensitive misbehaving parents.

    In the event your “baby” gets arrested for something similar to what you got arrested for, have some compassion for your (behaviorally programmed) ‘rip off the old frock,’ a mitigating factor reportedly brought to the attention of courts during sentencing.

    By the way, “the most important part of doing all those years in school” is not attending senior prom events, at least not for students and parents who understand the value and purpose of an education.

    I wonder how popular your “baby” would be with his high school classmates if they identified his mama as the catalyst for the departure of their favorite principal. When the crap hits the water, or becomes modeling clay, anticipating the ripple effects can be daunting – can’t it.

  • Nancy

    The rampant abuse going on in the schools among the adults is the biggest problem…the ban someone like that from campus is a good step…but a policy that has Zero-Tolerance for “deliberate, repeated, health-impairing mistreatment of any person in a Public School environment” needs to be Board approved and then rigorously enforced without fear of retaliation, like the slanderous allegations of corruption and mismanagement against this principal or anyone else who confronts bully or other harmful and unhealthy behavior in the Public School system as an employee, a student, a third party, and/or community member…All School and Citizen Groups need to advocate for a Healthy Workplace Bill -

    Peralta CCD right across the street from OUSD adopted its policy based on the following accounts:

    http://workplacebullying.org/press/abc031008.html

  • Anitra Corbin

    It’s nice to see a revised version.Only it’s not true either.I was charged with TERRORIST THREATS ON AN OFFICIAL!! & ASSAULT AN BATTERY ON AN OFFICIAL!! IT would’ve been nice if back then the truth a ACCIDENTAL POKE!! would’ve been said. I was fussing with my finger pointing an touched her nose. Now I’m a TERRORIST!!!! WOW!!!! BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS!!!

  • Nextset

    Ms. Corbin, how did things turn out? Did your child pass the test and graduate? Are things patched up with the school and the principal? What is your son doing nowadays after all the time has passed? is he working, in school, living on his own?

    As far as what you were charged with – I believe there is a code section (Ed Code?) making it a crime to berate a school teacher/employee at their school. A low grade misdemeanor. Perhaps that code section could be substituted for the criminal threats charge and a plea done over that. It is what it is.

    First thing about plea bargaining is to try to substitute a lesser code section for the one the police first used and jump on a plea to that. I have seen felony robbery reduced to disturbing the peace infraction. That doesn’t happen often – but you sometimes have to find the lesser code section and make a case for why it fits the particular bad day in the city. There are 29 code books in CA and all of them have crimes in them it seems. Cops are only trained on a few books such as Vehicle Code & Penal Code. They run to the general sections in the Penal Code, it’s all they know. There may be a specific section covering the behavior in the Education Code.

    And next time, don’t directly/physically challenge an authority figure at their workplace. You can get real hurt.

  • Chris G

    Parents getting live towrads schools officials is nothinge new. I have witnessed a few incidents(Sobrante Park, and Madison)- but what can one expect when these people also celebrate it when police are killed, or soldiers attacked?

    Then “officials” justify the attacks? Could it be that it is the by product if all of this race baiting by liberal minded american who push to fight the power?

    Inspire them to fight- but they will not stop there.

    I say its parental involvement, which is a subrurbian, middle class ideal gone bad!

    Rid of the parental in schools crap- and those women get jobs!

  • Nextset

    Chris G: Familiarity breeds comtempt. The school teachers and administration should maintain social and class barriers when dealing with proletariat.

    And when there is a line crossed, jail them. Principal Reeves did her duty in having this mother arrested – the charges are a matter for the peace officer to select. Periodic jailings and court appearances are how prole adults learn to stay in bounds. Pain is their main instructor – they don’t learn by information they learn by experiences, bad experiences..

    When you make the education of prole children your business you have to expect ups and down in the management of the proles and that includes their parents. Some of them look like http://www.peopleofwalmart.com . They behave that way also. It all goes with the territory.

    If education degrees were worth anything this would be taught well in Ed schools.

  • Anitra

    Thanks for asking, my son is great! Yes he did past the test. About a month later he has a nice job & family. From time to time I check the comments. Every one has an oppinion. I wonder if putting snaps of someone minding there(own business)!!! Is suppose to be funny, nice, or just some snaps of you an yours!!:) No it’s disrespectful!!! An yet you chose to leave a comment!! HAHAHA (IT IS WHAT IT IS)!!!!