City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: What Does Michelle Rhee Know About Dunbar/Fort Hill, and When Did She Know It?

On this anniversary weekend of the Dunbar/Fort Hill debacle, it's about time to call for an investigation of Michelle Rhee for her handling of the racial slur allegations made by Dunbar coach Craig Jefferies a year ago.

DCPS, the agency she lords over, has impeded every attempt to find out what really happened on that Allegany County football field last Sept. 19, 2008.

At least, that's what school officials in Allegany County and Maryland athletic overseers say about Rhee's handling of the matter.

Rhee won't say anything. So why not believe everybody else?

(AFTER THE JUMP: Why didn't Michelle Rhee cooperate in the Dunbar/Fort Hill investigations? Why won't Michelle Rhee explain why she didn't cooperate in the Dunbar/Fort Hill investigations? How did we reach a point where Michelle Rhee feels she doesn't have to explain why she didn't cooperate in the Dunbar/Fort Hill investigations? Redskins fans are racist? Dinosaurs and Indiana and preseason hockey trump postseason Mystics? )

Though everything that took place will never be agreed upon, this much is inarguable: Jefferies ordered his Dunbar players off the field in the third quarter of a game at Fort Hill.

Another apparent certainty: Ever since Jefferies said he pulled the team because his players were being racially taunted by Fort Hill's players and turned a football game into a national debate about race and sports, Rhee has behaved as if DCPS is her own private trust, not a government agency with some obligation to transparency.

"We know what we know, but we sort of only know from one point of view,"says Ned Sparks, head of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, the group which governs high school sports in the state and investigated Jefferies' allegations. "I never did hear from the DC folks. We heard from Fort Hill, watched all the video, talked to referees, and police. We have not found anybody to [back up the charges that Fort Hill players used racial slurs]. But we turned the Dunbar portion over to [DCPS] people to handle. We tried to facilitate some meetings. But we never did hear back from them."

Going on what it found, MPSSAA awarded Fort Hill a forfeit victory. No sanction of any kind was issued against any Fort Hill player or coach.

Fort Hill and Allegany schools administrators also told me attempts to reach out to DCPS after the Dunbar/Fort Hill game were ignored.

The U.S Department of Justice attempted to mediate the situation, and did organize a meeting that included representatives from DCPS and Allegany County schools to talk about Dunbar/Fort Hill.

After that gathering, officials from Allegany County filed a written report that the DOJ mediator requested.

Rhee, however, did not file any report with the federal government.

And with only one side of the story, the Department of Justice did not issue any report of its findings. The mediation effort quietly died.

Because of the Dunbar/Fort Hill incident, Sparks says, MPSSAA added passages about racially charged language to the handbook it has just distributed to every team captain in the state.

But Sparks remains frustrated by DCPS's repeated failure to participate in the investigations. He says DCPS's failure to cooperate with Maryland is one thing; Rhee's failure to work with the federal mediators is a whole different ballgame.

"If they had just given their report (to the DOJ), that would have been fine with us," he says. "But..."

So, what is DCPS's official version of what took place at Fort Hill? Who knows?

"The [DOJ] proceeding was confidential, therefore we cannot disclose our presentation," said Rhee's spokesperson, Jennifer Calloway, via email after repeated requests for information about the Dunbar/Fort Hill matter.

"Confidential"? Who says? Allegany officials have talked about it and told their version: They found nothing to back up the charges that racial slurs were used.

So why hasn't DCPS said anything, either to back up Jefferies or confess that they found nothing to support his charges? Who can't handle the truth?

Calloway confirmed that no written report was issued.

Why?

"At this point we do not have any further comment," was the only response from Rhee's office. Subsequent emails went unanswered.

The bottom line: Rhee's stonewalling has left everybody looking bad.

Rhee obviously wishes the whole Dunbar/Fort Hill mess would just go away. Before it does, she should explain her behavior. She is a civil servant, right?

***

Speaking of hate speech: If you want to learn to hate Redskins fans but don't have time to spend halftime in the concourse of FedExField on Sunday, just mosey over to Dan Snyder's message board, extremeskins.com, and read what the hardcores are saying about the petition a group of American Indians filed recently asking the Supreme Court to review a lower court's decision to save the team's trademark protections.

A sampling:

TK, the bulliest of Snyder's moderators still hanging around after all the originals jumped ship, calls the plaintiffs "[s]even people that have nothing better to do then continue to make theirselves look silly for 17 years and counting." And TK's the brains of the outfit.

The poster LAXPCK weighs in with: "isnt there some firewater or beads we can give these people to make them be quiet...How about if we give them a casino?"

And the big winner among the Skins class of clowns is the poster known as ThePreciating, who, in response to a commenter who says he has "many relatives who are Native American who despise the name," writes:

Speaking of your relatives, I'm so sick of these redskins invading our neighborhoods with their high crime rates and gambling and drugs. I swear, pretty soon they'll be teaching injun talk to our kids in school.

Blasting their tribal chants out their car windows, smoking their peace pipes all over the place, scalping innocent children. It's just unbelievable.

Sorry – I guess some of that Washington Redskins racism is rubbing off on me.

Wowee.

***

Last weekend's performance of the St. Louis Rams offense makes the Skins offense look like the Saints offense.

Or something like that.

But as bad as his team is, this weekend's game at FedExField will be new Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo's "grudge" game. You know he's got it in for Dan Snyder. Shortly after crushing Gregg Williams in the last offseason with dirty leaks about him disrespecting Joe Gibbs, Snyder et al sold some folks in the DC media on a tale that the reason Spags didn't get the Skins head coaching job was because the job interviewer (Snyder) and the interviewee (Spags) agreed that the interviewee (Spags) wasn't ready to be a coach.

Nobody outside this market ever bought that story, not after all those interviews at Snyder's Maryland estate, the one with the good view of the river.

But Spagnuolo surely didn't have any trouble staying awake for an extra couple hours of film watching this week in hopes of getting his first win as a head coach — or at least scoring his first points — against the owner who slimed him.

***

Finally, a poll where the Redskins DON'T finish last: The Skins are in fourth in opensecrets.org's ranking of NFL teams based on the amount of political contributions made over the last 20 years. Skins owners and officials have donated a total of Washington Redskins $323,000 over that time, a mere $8,550, or about 3 percent, to Democratic Party candidates.

The clubhouse leader by almost a full zero is the San Diego Chargers, who according to opensecret.org's data have given $2,455,200, all but 2 percent to the GOP or its candidates.

***

The Mystics opened the playoffs in a college gym because "Walking with Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular" got dibs on their regular home, the Verizon Center. Playing away from the treasured "Attendance Champion" banners, the Mystics lost, 88-79. The T-Rexes will be gone in time for Game 3* of the Best of Three series. But the Caps are scheduled to play the Buffalo Sabres at Verizon.

And, as everybody knows, preseason hockey trumps postseason women's basketball EVERY TIME!

***

Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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  • Marciela

    For the exact same reason she didn't feel it was necessary to investigate cheating allegations on the test. She thinks she is invincible and above the law like her pals Fenty and Lanier. They all need to go.

  • fedupcitizen

    Marciela I'm with you clean house now!!!!!

  • DR

    isn't it obvious dave? She's not talking bc the allegations were bunk....how naive are you?

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  • candycane1

    Of course she's not talking. What does she care about what others think or do. She has an agenda to use DCPS to promote herself on a national scale, yet she has done nothing "constructive" to earn a reputation as a reformer. She doesn't show for council hearings, she doesn't answer to allegations of cheating,she's been known not to show for court and she was at a basketball game in Sacramento with Kevin Johnson on the day of the DCPS basketball championship game. Athletics mean nothing to her.

    A normal person would think that when the justice department is inquiring about a reported incident, it must be serious and would respond. However a narcissistic personality such as Rhee's probably said to herself, I'll dissmiss this like I dissmiss anything else that is displeasing or unimportant to me. She will show up for conferences where is scheduled as a speaker, MSNBC, interviews for national magazines and photo-ops. It fits her personality to pose for a cover of a magazine looking witch-like. She thinks she's Marie Antoinette and we all know how that story eneded.

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