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Opinion

Examiner Local Editorial: Coolidge H.S. administrators gone wild

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Opinion,Local Editorial

Last Friday's headline story in The Washington Examiner was about a DC Public School principal who has been charged with instigating a vicious parking lot beat-down outside her high school's football stadium. This was a shocking portrayal of three apparently out-of-control administrators who should have known better, behaving in a manner that would be unacceptable among pre-schoolers. When the adults in charge provide such a negative example of self-control, is it any wonder that so many DCPS students have major discipline problems?

According to the police report, Calvin Coolidge High School principal Thelma Jarrett was accused of assault for allegedly telling two of her staff members, "Get her, bitch!" as the trio began hitting and kicking a former school employee, Rashida King-Hicks, in a school parking lot on Nov. 2 during Coolidge's homecoming festivities.

King-Hicks told police that she had been watching the game from a parking lot on Fifth Street NW when Jarrett, Donna Pixley, and Bridgette Stevens began arguing and cursing at her. At some point, the three women approached their former colleague and Jarrett, the 37-year-old victim claims, proceeded to punch her in the face. When she fell to the ground, the trio repeatedly kicked and stomped her until help arrived.

One brave Good Samaritan -- the parent of a Coolidge student -- told police she tried to shield King-Hicks, whose brother is an assistant principal at the school, with her own body and then helped the bruised woman to her feet. She is the heroine in this tawdry tale of Administrators Gone Wild.

Jarrett and the other two Coolidge employees turned themselves in to police and all three have been placed on administrative leave. The school's parent coordinator later claimed that the principal was only trying to break up the cat-fight. But witnesses gave police enough evidence to charge her and her two staff members with misdemeanor assault.

In September, Coolidge went into lockdown after one student shot another near the same parking lot, just as classes were being dismissed for the day. At the time, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson called the shooting -- which apparently followed a verbal altercation between the two teenagers -- an "isolated incident," reassuring parents that they "should feel safe sending their children to Coolidge tomorrow."

Can Henderson make that same claim now, knowing that the latest person accused of violence at Coolidge High is the principal herself?

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