High School Principal Banned Woman From Campus Without Investigation

 

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

 

A small group of parents demonstrated last week in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, demanding that Principal Washington Collado be allowed to stay in the school.

Some of these same parents might be complaining to the School Board in person this week about Collado’s dismissal.

 

Washington Collado

Although Collado is one of roughly a dozen principals rumored to be fired, he is the one being talked about the most.

I wonder if Collado’s protesting supporters know this:

Collado had been misleading about the cheerleading controversy at Stoneman Doulgas.

He didn’t tell the truth when he barred parent Joann Gavin from the school last year as part of the hubbub over cheerleading.

He didn’t tell the truth when he wrote a letter justifying the ban. The letter was given to  Gavin and to his supervisor, North Area Director David Hall.

Collado wrote that an “investigation conducted by the Broward County School Board Special Investigative Union” found Gavin had “consistently exhibited inappropriate outbursts, engaged in disparagement and harassment of coaches and staff and, in the midst of an argument, aggressively put your hands on one of our trainers…”

One problem.

Gavin was never investigated!

The statement that she was investigated was used by Collado to explain prohibiting Gavin from the school campus.

By keeping her out of the school, Collado eliminated a vocal critic of Stoneman Douglas’ cheerleading program and its coach at the time, Melissa Prochilo.

Questions  about improprieties involving the cheerleading program had ignited a bitter feud between Prochilo supporters and Prochilo critics like Gavin.

Porchilo supporters complained to Collado about Gavin.  They alleged in e-mails all kinds of misconduct.

Wading into the dispute, Collado took sides against Gavin.

In February, 2012 Collado told Gavin in writing she was no longer allowed to enter the campus.

Gavin was not permitted to give her side of the story.  She sued alleging that Collado and the School Board violated her Constitutional guarantees to due process by not allowing her any opportunity to defend herself or to appeal the ban.

As part of the lawsuit, Gavin’s pro-bono attorney Chris Fertig questioned Guillermo Flores.  He is the school police detective who was supposedly assigned to look into the e-mailed allegations against Gavin from the other cheerleading mom’s.

 

No Investigation

 

 

He was asked repeatedly in a sworn deposition if he had investigated Gavin.

“This was not an official investigation or a case number would have been assigned, a supervisor would have signed off on it and it would have been a full-blown investigation,” Flores testified. This was not an official, full blown investigation, this was a preliminary, unofficial investigation so the principal could do his investigation.”

 

 

Page 23, Lines 14 to Page 24, Line 9

 

Q: Who deems the truth (of the email’s containing allegations against Gavin)?

A: That their—their allegations. In other words, saying-. Let me.

Q: Take your time because this is important.

A: My job—they –they sent me e-mails.  My job was to verify what they said in their e-mails.

Q: To verify the content of the e-mails or just to verify that the person who wrote the e-mails actually wrote it?

A. Pretty much; yes, sir.

Q: Which one?

A: Oh, the author of that e-mail is the one who wrote that e-mail and this is what their allegation is.

Q. Okay, Did you investigate the substance of what these people were saying in their e-mails?

A: My investigation went as far as speaking to the authors of the e-mails and passing that information on to the principals.

 

The only investigation was to see if the mothers actually wrote the e-mails. There was no investigation into the allegations contained in the e-mails.

Flores was asked about Collado’s letter justifying Gavin’s ban:

 

Page 46, Line 2-17

 

Q: On that February 28 letter, the principal wrote:

‘Furthermore, according to the investigation conducted by the Broward County School Board Special Investigative Union” found she had “consistently exhibited inappropriate outbursts.’ You go on – or he goes on, the principal.

Was there an investigation conducted by the Broward County School Board Special Investigative Unit?

A: Not an official investigation.

Q: An official investigation would have involved personally interviewing witnesses, would it?

A: Yes.

 

Page 60; Lines 14-19

Q: Did you ever ask Ms. Gavin before this letter was issued to have her side told?

A: No

Q:  Did you ever investigate the accuracy or truth of those statements that were made against her?

A:  No

 

Contrary to the principal’s letter, there was no SIU investigation of Gavin.

So there was no reason to prohibit her from campus.

You can decide whether someone should be a principal who can ban someone from a publicly owned campus…just because he doesn’t like what she was saying.

 

 

 



31 Responses to “High School Principal Banned Woman From Campus Without Investigation”

  1. Tennis says:

    This article pulls on my Heart…..how can a Principal do such a thing against a parent. If this happen to anyone of those parents who support him, what would they do? It is horrible what these people have done not just to the parent, but the innocent children who are truly the ones affected.
    The principal should be removed immediately, as corporations due, it is more harmful to the community and students trying to maintain a normal atmosphere with the circus he created. It is wonderful that Runcie and the School Board clean -house. I am assuming there are more people involved in such a horrific act. There is always two sides to a story. The most harmful actions taken by this principal is the innocent kids affected.

    Thanks Buddy!!

  2. Transparent says:

    Wow who would believe this could go on in a public high school . I hope the kids can recover from the fiasco he has created . He must have some ego .

  3. Susie says:

    Who was this cheer coach ? Wht was she protected by the principal to the point of banning a mother ? Did they have a relationship or just friends . I hear most of her supported are not even from Douglas but from some cheer group the Chargers !

  4. No Investigation says:

    I have children who attend MSD. I have been reading and watching on TV about the Principal. I cannot believe that he banned a parent without any due process. I did not understand why he was being reassigned. But….now I do! There is no place for poor/unethical judgment when you are an administrator of a school. Especially one as respected as MSD!

  5. Just a drop in the bucket says:

    I believe Principal Collado has mishandled many serious, disturbing problems that were brought to his attention on several occasions. Most of these problems have been brought to the attention of the school board. Apparently Mr.Collado is not telling the public about these problems. Thus, the public does not understand why, perhaps he is being reassigned.

  6. Anonomyte says:

    Wish this whole Stoneman Douglas cheerleader thing would just go away.

    How much time and taxpayer money has gone into investigating and dealing with the various aspects of this nonsense.

    As a taxpayer of record for too long to remember, I am sick and tired of this money-wasting crapola. Close the cheerleading program down and save us all some cash. Cheerleaders, the true role models we need for the business women of the 21st century? Really!

  7. Don't blame the children says:

    I agree that too much taxpayer money has gone into the non-investigating tactics of the cheerleading fiasco. But the children are not to blame. The blame solely rests on the coach/principal for letting this matter get so out of hand. And for the record there were at least 5 male cheerleaders at MSD!

  8. $100,000.00 question... says:

    So the Principal is responsible for the non-investigation and use of my taxpayer money. I’ve heard via the news that the non-investigation cost taxpayers over $100,000.00! And now he is involved in a lawsuit…which the taxpayers will also be footing the bill for. WOW!

  9. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> Cheerleaders, the true role models we need for the business women of the 21st century? R

    Hey dude, someone needs to tend tables at Hooters…

  10. disgusted says:

    Yes, this is heartbreaking. The system in place is corrupt, the people in authority are corrupt.

    It would be great if some of the protesting parents made the same effort to learn the other side of the story…to spend just a few moments trying to learn some truth…before protesting. Protesting from a position of ignorance doesn’t leave me very optimistic about how their children will act under challenging circumstances.

    Good luck to us all. Shame on you parents for not seeking the truth before acting / protesting!

  11. Biased says:

    This article is incredibly biased. Obviously it was Joann Gavin who got the principal fired. Obviously, from your past history Buddy, you are on the side of the cheerleaders. You guys are ruining Stoneman Douglas high school. You’re the reason parkland has such a snobby over-protective parent reputation. Grow up. You can’t always get what you want.

  12. Dee Gomez says:

    Just know that there are many allagations being tossed around. Ms, Gavin is no angel. This is nothing more than entitled parents who’s children didn’t get what they wanted. If you come into an school office acting like a lunitic you will be banned. Those who know the truth know who the problem is!! Mr. Collado is being supported by the city, the Parkland Mayor, the PTSA, business partners, the major sports clubs, his peers, the parents and teachers from his prior school. Read between the lines. Ms Gavin and her friends are the trouble makers. The truth is finally going to come out!!

  13. Dee Gomez says:

    I also love that no one speaking negatively about Mr. Collado will use their real name…. That should tell you something.

  14. Sue says:

    These cheerleading parents are absolutely insane. Do you know these mothers were bullying other mothers and girls on the team? They were not well liked among normal people. And Mr. Collado ‘s first responsibility is to provide a stable LEARNING environment for the entire student body and that can’t happen when crazy screamers constantly interrupt the business of school. My God the girls didn’t even make varsity when an independent judging board came in. The fact that people are causing so much disruption over cheerleading?! Cheerleading?! It’s not over academics…, noooo… It’s about cheerleading. Think about that and where that might take you. It’s incredible that this is what will ruin a Man’s thirty year career in education. And it’s absolutely embarrassing to admit I live in this town known for entitled people like this.

  15. Susie says:

    Sue, you obviously don’t have child at Douglas or even know the moms . That is do untrue . The bullies are the ones that speak and post things on twitter or allow their child to do it . All know who the bullies are , that can be proven also so keep talking

  16. Violet says:

    There is so secret about what the community of Parkland is like, just like Coral Springs and Weston, only worse. Collado was hand picked for his job based on the attributes that he demonstrated during this leadership training. There isn’t a problem with his leadership involving academics, discipline, finances, teacher accountability and all the other various items that principals now days must handle. This is about power. He should move on for his own welfare. He should get out while he is still sane and healthy and not look back.

  17. My two cents says:

    I don’t have personal knowledge of any of the allegations surrounding the current incident(s) with the principal of MSD and the cheerleading moms, but I do have personal knowledge of Washington Collado; the cheerleading coach; and the history of problems at MSD over cheerleading and other issues, so allow me to put in my two cents.

    Mr. Collado was a good AP and principal at his other schools. To be given the responsibility of MSD speaks to his reputation; I know from being a former insider that they don’t just put anyone at a school like Douglas.

    The cheerleading coach had prior problems in her previous placement. Lots of them. Similar issues. Strong feelings generated for and against her by the cheerleading parents at her former school. So if past performance predicts future behavior, her current situation was not unexpected.

    The current problems with the cheerleading program are not new at Douglas. The same or very similar issues occurred under the prior administrations, Dan Traeger, who was considered an excellent principal, allowed similar things to go on with the cheerleading program, and also with other programs ie debate.

    Ann Kowalski faced similar problems with cheerleading and many other athletic programs, as well as the debate program.

    For as long as I can remember, and that is about 15 years, the parents at Douglas make the “Dance Moms” look like angels. Douglas parents are very involved, very demanding, and very vocal. That is good and bad, depending on whose side you are on.

    But all I can say is at least Runcie had the balls to deal with this situation this time. Notter never did; Till never did; and they were all well aware of the problems at Douglas. The Area Directors and previous Area Sups all covered up for the previous principals. Like it or not, Runcie is at least addressing the situation.

  18. christine says:

    @16. I agree. That’s what I did 1.5 years ago. It was the best thing I ever did.

  19. Annoyed Student says:

    First of all our school is called Marjory Stoneman Douglas not Marjorie you fucking dumbass. If you don’t even know how to spell the name of our school I wonder how wrong your other facts are also.

    I’m sorry but none of you even go to Douglas so sit the hell down. Collado has done so many great things for our school and you’re letting them be undermined by some crazy ass cheer mom. I hope you all are happy knowing that she is a perfectly wealthy woman and she’s suing a broke school board. We already don’t have money for anything at school and now we’re going to be left with even less. Ms. Gavin signed her daughter up to get free cheerleading, claiming they didn’t have enough money to pay for it. Meanwhile, her daughter got a brand new Mercedes before she was even 16. That should tell you what kind of person she is right there. Collado has made so many improvements to our school and I doubt any of you even know what they are. So maybe you should educate yourselves before you talk,

    And btw cheerleading isn’t even a damn sport.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Sorry about the spelling.

  20. TEAM COLLADO says:

    YOU DIDN’T EVEN SPELL OUR SCHOOLS NAME RIGHT BUDDY YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING

  21. jessica says:

    How great would it be if people who spoke up really knew what was happening. The reality is that Mr. Collado should be fired immediately. The cheerleading situation is one of many things going wrong at Douglas. Collado does not have the skills needed to be a leader. He can not provide a safe environment for the kids. How is it that he becomes friends with the teachers being investigated? How is that he is not able to open up investigations in areas that are critical, such as teachers bullying students? He is clearly all about covering it up and protecting his friends. That is more important to him than protecting the kids. There are so many horrific things going on at Douglas. Why not actually educate yourself before blindly defending someone who should never be allowed to be a role model for students. Is it okay for teachers to bully students? If you are Collado, the answer is yes. Is it okay for teachers not to teach as they are required? If you are Collado, the answer is yes. The list goes on and on. The problem starts at the very bottom and goes up throughout the school system of Broward County. It is awful to watch how the lives of children are being adversely affected because of Collado, his buddies, and the entire system. It is broken and unfortunately, everyone in this school will suffer.

  22. clean house says:

    reading the school employee’s answers from the depo indicates how stupid and/or clueless these employees must be
    could he really have been telling the truth?

  23. Transparent says:

    Dear annoyed student,
    You are bad example of he majority of students at MSD .
    Don’t sling trash if you have some yourself .

  24. Sue says:

    Incorrect. Have kids at Douglas and am 14 year resident of this city. The cheerleading issue took way too much of Collado’s time. She was investigated and cleared. Case closed. These mothers didn’t get their way and here we are. Regardless of that, the excuse that the evaluation of principals was changes without the principals being told and using someone’s untested dissertation idea is ludicrous. And causing this upheaval before FCATs, APs, and EOCs hurts our students and that reflects on the ineptness of this superintendent and the board. If this is bringing business model to the schools, then they must be failed entrepreneurs. It’s unethical on top of being poor management. Again, cheerleading… It’s cheerleading.

  25. Broward Voter says:

    Buddy, A school principal possesses the authority under Florida Statutes to ban a person from campus – no “investigation” is necessary: Florida Statute 810.097 (a) Does not have legitimate business on the campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school property (2) Any person who enters or remains upon the campus or other facility of a school after the principal of such school, or his or her designee, has directed such person to leave such campus or facility or not to enter upon the campus or facility, commits a trespass upon the grounds of a school facility and is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

    FROM BUDDY:

    Florida Statute 810 is a criminal statute for burglary and trespass and really doesn’t apply here.

    Regardless, this case involves a mother with legitimate reasons to be at the school because she had children in the school. She was banned without being allowed to give her side of the story and without any rights to an appeal. That sounds unAmerican to me.

  26. Cheer Dad? says:

    I just finished watching the speakers at today’s school board meeting and I think it’s safe to assume that the term “cheer moms” must officially be changed to “cheer moms and a dad”.

  27. Tennis says:

    I know that there are two sides to a story. It is evident that the only victims are the children who attend the school.

    To watch a Rally, turn into an acceptable walk-out is sad. This had nothing to do with the cheerleading issues of last year. Kids trying to succeed want nothing to do with this matter.

    Runcie and the BCSB made that clear today. I am shocked that these disgruntled-angry parents are lacking is respect. Their horrific manner in which they spoke is disgraceful.

    To bring all the MSD students into a false sense of unity for their “Save the Principal” is distasteful. Talking about what people have and their own choices they make is rude. You don’t know what these people are think, unless they have been asked.

    There are so many more problems last year than Cheerleading, Drama, Baseball, Bullying and the top….Drugs.

    If all the parents were in a room, maybe they could put their resources to good use and stop the bullying and drugs that are rapid in MSD.

    Their are changes everyday, deal with it!!!

  28. Broward Voter says:

    Buddy, It may sound unAmerican, whatever that may be, but it is nevertheless completely within the discretion of the school principal, per state statute, to determine who is permitted on the campus he or she is responsible for controlling. The statute does apply in this case. I am not making a judgment on whether Principal Collado was correct to ban the parent from the school, I do not know all of the facts.I am just pointing out that he had the authority to do so. If you check the case law precedent for these matters you will find that the rules of control and application of due process is held to a lower standard at three specific locations: schools, prisons, and military installations.

    FROM BUDDY:

    I’m not an attorney, but I very much doubt that a statute that starts like this one applied to a parent who has children in the school:

    Any person who:
    (a) Does not have legitimate business on the campus or any other authorization, license, or invitation to enter or remain upon school property;
    or
    (b) Is a student currently under suspension or expulsion;

    And frankly it does’t matter. This principal did not tell the truth to his supervisor, the parent and to the public. There was no investigation by the school police, which he used in the letter to justify forbidding her to come on campus. If he had the power to kick her off, why did he need this justification?

  29. Broward Voter says:

    Buddy, In answer to your specific question, my response is I do not know what occurred which prompted Principal Collado to issue the ban to this specific parent. I am not justifying the actions of Principal Collado, especially if he banned the parent and then was not truthful with his supervisor. But please keep in mind that being a parent of a student at a school does not give a person carte blanche access to the campus. For example, a parent may become disruptive (profanity, threats, actual physical contact) while meeting with a school administrator because of a disciplinary action taken against their child, may threaten or make physical contact with a teacher / staff member, may confront another student (and perhaps threaten or become physical) who they think is bullying their child, or any number of other reasons which would prompt a school principal to ban a parent from, or perhaps restrict access to, the school in order to maintain a safe and controlled environment. The statute gives the principal the authority, however, there would have to be justification and notification of his or her supervisor to ensure that the action is warranted. In the cases above, which by the way are all actual events, the School Resource Officer was notified and a report filed with law enforcement to document the specific incident. Banning or restricting access for a parent cannot be arbitrary or capricious, but it does happen from time to time for various reasons.

  30. Concerned says:

    This new breed of rude, agressive parents are not the “cheerleading parents” but the entitled PTSA parents. What kind of example are they setting for the students. Planned walk outs, rude, agressive behavior, they haven’t a clue to what’s going on before their eyes. Oh that’s right, their kids go by a different set of rules. Hopefully the next principal will keep these women in their place and not give them free rein of the school!

  31. Love says:

    Buddy

    Your just a troll
    You could care less
    Your words are devoid of any substance
    A housewife who got burned is your juice
    You haven’t been involved in anything school related for decades
    Parkland is parkland
    One parent one personal vendetta one politically connected hack with no audience
    When does it end when is your shuffleboard match with your alta cockers leave the kids alone – in the Midwest or the NE your ilk would not have the forum to play games
    Remember karma we all wait patiently

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