Henrick’s Bully Pulpit

Board of Education Election Official Behaving Badly

Editor’s Note: After multiple calls and emails to the Stratford Crier regarding Mike Henrick’s “behavior” at both the Town Council meeting on Monday, May 9th, and the Board of Education meeting on May 23rd the Stratford Crier has determined that Stratford residents should make their own determination if his behavior is appropriate as a member of the Board of Education.  The following is a word for word transcription on Henrick’s interaction with the Stratford Superintendent of Schools Dr. Osunde.  The Stratford Crier agrees with those who have contacted us that Henrick’s behavior is egregious and unbecoming of an elected official.  As a publication with a goal to inform with facts and truth, we are especially disturbed by Henrick badgering Superintendent Dr. Osunde without having any facts or information to back it up.

The Crier is calling for Mike Henrick, as well as all town political leaders, to adapt a civil tone.  The BOE should reign in dialog to a civil tone as it is a poor reflection on our town.

After the Superintendent’s Report at the BOE Board meeting of May 23rd, when BOE Chair asked if there were any questions, BOE Member Mike Henrick started again:

Henrick: “So, um, recently at I believe in Stratford High there was an attempted stabbing. I know we’ve talked quite a bit about discipline in the schools and, um, just concerned that these incidents continue to escalate and, what kind of policies, what it is we’re doing to implement, um, new discipline, um, as I talked to teachers throughout the district, one of their biggest concerns is discipline in the classroom, discipline in the schools and, just, you know, it’s been an ongoing topic of conversation in our meetings and I’d like to know what, what we’re doing to address those issues.”

Dr. Osunde: “Um, I can answer that pretty simply. The case that you are putting on the table, I don’t think anybody is aware of. That has not been brought to building leaders’ attention and you standing here right now and sharing that is the first time it’s touched my ears. I will say it’s very, very rare that a case of such significant profile would happen in our schools and nobody know about it, so I guess my question for you is ‘who is your source’ and ‘who is giving you this  information.’”

Henrick: I’ll get you the information

Dr. Osunde: “Do you have it now?”

Henrick: “I do and I’ll get it to you at the appropriate time.”

Dr. Osunde: “You’re unwilling to share that information now?

Henrick: “Not at the moment, no.”

Dr. Osunde: “Okay.”

Henrick: “But, I’ll, uh, I’ll get clearance from the people I spoke with and I’ll forward it over to  you.”

Dr. Osunde: “Sure, so in, in that sense, it’s hard for me to answer that question around that  specific example because we have not had that case investigated.”

Henrick: “It’s my understanding that he was arrested but, I will, uh, get you further information on it….”

Dr. Osunde: “Please.”

Henrick: “…but the, uh, but discipline is an issue in the schools and we’ve talked about it on numerous occasions um, I had it well, I wanted to, a female student brought up a significant issue  to me as well, but um, what are we doing about discipline in the schools?”

Dr. Osunde: “Please give me a specific example of what discipline you’re referring to.”

Henrick: “Student control within our school systems.”

Dr. Osunde: “We have seventy some hundred kids, including out of district kids…

. Henrick: “Yeah”

Dr. Osunde: “…in our district we have 6 to 800 kids …

” Henrick: “Yup.”

Dr. Osunde: “…if you are trying to cast a dispersion to represent the entire student body…”

Henrick: “I am absolutely not trying to cast the dispersion that represent the entire student  body.”

Dr. Osunde: “You’re giving me the generalization, so we have 13 schools and discipline in every    school looks different. If you’re talking about systemic approach to doing something like that I would, I would need a little bit more detail but as of right now, you’re giving me a general response and you’re also using examples that are cases that none of us have heard anything about. So, if you do have sources that are giving you data or information about things that are happening, what I would encourage you as a board member is to leverage the process that we discussed when you joined the Board which is to follow a chain of command and make sure you redirect that to the principal who might have a better and intimate knowledge of what’s happening at their schools and will be better positioned to respond to some of those disciplinary issues.

Henrick: “Well, I’m bringing it to you because you are the head of the schools.”

Dr. Osunde: “You’re right, but what I’m saying is that all the things that you’re putting on the table right now are not to my knowledge.  Okay.”

Henrick: “Well, I think it probably should be but…alright. So, moving on, um, we’ve also talked about vandalism in the schools and I got the latest report from the Town which, the vandalism continues, um, and again, what are we doing to curb the vandalism and mostly in the  bathrooms, toilets being knocked loose, things being knocked loose, three toilets used loose, urinals clogged, missing toilet seats, soap dispensers ripped off the walls. This is just the month  of May up till today’s date but I wasn’t able to obtain the report from February to the beginning  of May…”

Andrea Corcoran: “Going forward, Mr. Henrick, can you make sure that the whole Board receives these reports of vandalism so that when they are discussed at the meetings, we all have seen…”

Henrick: “Well, I think maybe we want to put it on the agenda as an ongoing item and since Dr. Osunde has access to that information, he should forward it to us..”

Dr. Osunde: “I actually do not have access to that information…”

Henrick: “the Mayor has made you accessible to the information. She’s made it, uh, available to  you..”

Dr. Osunde: “When?”

Henrick: “Uh, probably about three or four months ago, she put you on the list so you could  obtain this information.”

Dr. Osunde: “I received ONE email from public works…”

Henrick: “Yeah..”

Dr. Osunde: “…that was it.”

Henrick: “Well, you have to, you have to go on and look for it or ask for it and, and that’s how I get it, I go on and look for it, and ask for it.”

Dr. Osunde: “So, I wasn’t aware that the Mayor was making assignments for me.”

Henrick: “She wasn’t making assignments for you but that….when the Town gets called to the schools to repair the damage, it’s done by the Town’s public works department and so my reasoning for asking is this, this situation continues to take place, it costs a significant amount of       money to make these repairs and we had talked about this back in February based on the TikTok  issues and the other threats and the continued vandalism which I continue to say creates an unsafe environment for our school children, gives them a feeling of not being safe and my answer is how do we address this and what are we doing to deal with it. The same thing I asked  back in February and this continues to be an issue.”

Dr. Osunde: “It’s not an issue because it’s not coming to my attention. I’ll share with you what        we did in the Winter.  Okay, the same way I described …”

Henrick: “It hasn’t come to your attention? Well, because the Town has to go out and fix these  things. These are reports…”

Andrea Corcoran: “As I suggested, perhaps the Mayor could add us all to this list and we can all     see it and then we could have it…”

Henrick: “But it should be the schools…”

Dr. Osunde: “These are reports that for whatever reason are coming exclusively to you, right..”

Henrick: “Not coming exclusive to me. They’re coming because I asked for them because I’m  following up on it.”

Dr. Osunde: “There’s nobody else on the Board…”

Henrick: “I shouldn’t be the one following up on it because I’m not the one…”.

Dr. Osunde: “Well, you are

Henrick: “at the Board of Ed

Dr. Osunde: “But you are..”

Henrick: “But I am asking, right, because I was elected to oversee this position and that’s what  I’ll continue to do. But I should not be the one who has to ask these questions.”

Dr. Osunde: “You’re asking those questions.”

Henrick: “I am asking.”

Dr. Osunde: “What I’m saying is your asking these questions based on some unsubstantiated  data or information that no one else has access to.”:

Henrick: “Here’s a report, all you got to do is ask and you can get it too.”

Dr. Osunde: “I would happily receive the report if you would have it forwarded to my office…”

Henrick: “I shouldn’t be the one forwarding it to you, you should be the one forwarding it to  me.”

Dr. Osunde: “Mr. Henrick, with all due respect, again, this is a back and forth and we can do this all day long, um, ultimately what you’re trying to do, and I understand what you’re trying to  do because I saw you do it on the 9th, right, you’re trying to establish positionality and what I’m trying to say …”

Henrick: “Establish what?”

Dr. Osunde: “Positionality, this is a back and forth that you are very well-versed in what you’re  doing, okay, and this is not that platform.”

Henrick: “This is about accountability.”

Dr. Osunde: “It is about accountability

Henrick: “yeah, it is…”

Dr. Osunde: “…and I can share with you the same thing I discussed with you in February. We  have a process where I work with our principals, where they cycle safety monitors through specific bathrooms on occasions. I’ve already shared with you that we’re short. If our teachers are teaching in classrooms and our administrators are in PPTs or working with students there aren’t too many people to monitor the bathrooms. You just voted down a budget that is forcing us to reduce personnel. Personnel that might be able to be positioned to respond to some of those non-adaptive behaviors. So you’re sitting here right now, putting data on the table that you’ve not brought up in three months, and I would argue that he data that you put on the table is      completely inflamed and inaccurate and unsubstantiated. Very similar to the data…

Henrick: “It’s not…”

Dr. Osunde: “…very similar to the data that you put forth on May 9th at the Town Council which is completely baseless and untrue.”

Henrick: “None of it is baseless…:

Dr. Osunde: “So if you want to sit here and have a conversation about protocol, I’m 100% on board with protocol, but, at the end of the day you cannot sit here and tell me the things I need to ask for, particularly if the people that I work with are making the claim that these behaviors don’t happen, at least on the volume of what you’re speaking to. We have been working incredibly hard all year. If you have privy to information that you think the other six members of the Board  of Education need to have in their hands, because that’s collectively where we’re going to make a collective decision about how to respond to those things, then make sure your actions are aligned with your words. Because you voted down a budget that is forcing us to reduce positions     that can now be people who can respond to some of these challenges.

Henrick: “Over the last six years we’ve had a surplus. I didn’t vote down a budget.”

Andrea Corcoran: “Mr. Henrick…”

Henrick: “And again we’re going to have a surplus.”

Andrea Corcoran: “Mr. Henrick, out of order, I think that we need to get back to the agenda. I      appreciate your concerns.  Perhaps…”

Henrick: “Well I have another question too regarding the Alliance district.”

Dr. Osunde: “I will respectfully, if these, I’m not going to get caught up in a situation here where        you’re trying to blindside me. If you do have these things that you want to bring up in these opportunities, in order for me and my team to be adequately prepared to respond to those things, please forward that to us ahead of time. If these are things that are not to my knowledge, I’m not  going to get into this back and forth.  So, if you do have some questions…”

Henrick: “My question would be in regards to the Alliance district scoring, um, I would appreciate if you would forward the information on how our scoring fell out according to other    school districts and what the algorithms were to create that score that forced us to get into that Alliance district.

Dr. Osunde: “Sure, Mr. Henrick, I can provide that information.  If you go to the State website, it  gives you the entire calculation…”

Henrick: “I don’t want to go…I’d like to get it from you and your office sir.”

Dr. Osunde: “I will give it to you.”

Henrick: “Thank you.”

Dr. Osunde: “With the same resources that the State provides everybody else. It’s public knowledge.”

Henrick: “Good.”

Editor’s Note:  We have attached the YouTube video of the Board of Education meeting.  The exchange between Henrick and Dr. Osunde begins at the 1:35:18  mark..

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