City Desk

Why Michelle Rhee Needs to Explain Her ‘Sex With Children’ Claim


Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee's found herself in a tough spot of late over comments she gave to a business magazine. "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school," she told Fast Company's Jeff Chu.

That "sex with children" line has dropped jaws across the city and thus demands some more detail. How could a D.C. Public Schools teacher have sex with a student and remain on the job, sticking around long enough to be fired for budgetary reasons?

So far, reporters' inquiries have gotten the old "personnel matter" excuse and some "I'll get back to you"s. Here's one reason why that strategy isn't going to fly: Under D.C. law, certain people whose jobs put them into contact with children are called "mandatory reporters." Put simply, it means that if they suspect that a child under their care is being abused, they are required by law to tell the police or the Child and Family Services Agency.

Among those with mandatory reporting responsibility are "school officials." According to a D.C. government guide on the subject [PDF], you are required to blow the whistle immediately "when, in your professional capacity or within the scope of your employment, you know or reasonably suspect that an infant, child, or teen has been abused or is in immediate danger of being abused."

Now it's highly unlikely that Rhee herself encountered the child (or children) who had sex with this teacher (or teachers) whom she refers to in the quote. And there's quite a good chance that the incident in question happened before Rhee's tenure at DCPS. But certainly, if Rhee is repeating these allegations, other school officials would have had knowledge of the situation and would also have been legally bound to "immediately notify the person in charge of the institution or his or her designated agent who shall then be required to make the report" to the authorities. That makes a who-knew-and-when-did-they-know-it type of response crucial in this case.

Incidentally, failure by a mandatory reporter to alert authorities to child abuse is a misdemeanor punished by up to a $300 fine and 90 days in jail.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • If it walks like a duck

    Michelle, when will you and King Fenty quit or be run out of office.

  • Rick Mangus

    I think she is doing a great job with the schools, but what the hell was she thinking during that interview. As a city tax payer I want to know what she meant too.

  • Rick Rosendall

    Oh, sure, they're respecting the privacy of (former) personnel whom Rhee has smeared as a class. That's plausible. Or not.

  • Manor

    Funny how failure to report has such a minor punishment... Funny as in sad and terrible and we live in a Stephen King story of a city.

  • noodlez

    HEY Rick Mangus WHAT IS THE BASIS OF YOUR STATEMENT? "I think she is doing a great job with the schools"



  • tired


  • Contrarian


  • Five to Go

    Defamation, Defamation!

  • A Brown

    Beyond anything that I can understand. A) They (who ARE they) should never have gotten to the point that they could be fired LAST FALL and B) Was it firee#32? Or 176? Or all of them? I hope she keeps talking like this, then we won' have t worry about getting her out.

  • proballdc

    What was she thinking? That was a foolish comment to make to a magazine whether the accusations were true or not.

    Reason number one is that the reduction in force in the District was officially claimed to be due to no other reason that budgetary pressures. None of the cuts were said to be associated with the performance of a job, because, if they were, employees have the right to due process; the ability to use the official appeal process. What Rhee has done here, is attached performance as a reason for staff reduction in DCPS. All 266 of those employees now have grounds for an appeal based on the new comments from the Chancellor.

    She either has to clear this up or she has just introduced new information that the courts just may willing to consider in the dismissal of all these teachers.

    Today Rhee gets to wear the dunce cap and sit in the corner...

  • candycane1

    The latest on Michelle Rhee is so offensive on many fronts. It speaks to the level of responsibilites of many. Personally, I don't believe it. If teachers were abusing kids where were the principals who would be the first to report such matters as specified by Superintendents's directives(they do exist) Are we saying that principals were neglegent?

    Secondly the parents that I know are not that passive nor are they stupid. All hell would have been raised if a teacher had been reported as physically or sexually abusing their kids.

    Rhee didn't defend her fiance for being popped with the embezzlement but she defended the charges of sexual misconduct with minor children. It was unprofessional, irresponsible and utterly ironic that she would make statements of this nature to further defame the workforce with charges that have not be substantiated. In the case of her boyfriend however, there is a paper trail.

    I think she was grandstanding as usual, to promote herself and she has been successful. She has become the infamous and the notorious.

    However, if for some reason these allegations are found to be true, Rhee needs to start packing. As the CEO she is responsible. Where is the paper trail? Where are the formal charges against teachers? Where are the reprimads against principals who failed to report such actions and how long were the abusive teachers allowed to stay employed before the RIF took them out? Why was a RIF used as an alternative tool to firing teachers with criminal behavior as opposed to disciplinary action as specified in DCMR? Lots of questions and I want answers.

    The woman is crazy and she needs to go. She is Fenty's waterloo.

  • This Needs to End

    Rhee is a star prevaricator who has finally gotten caught in the lies she tells. Either she is an asshole who is completely numb to why it is inappropriate for children to be molested and not take action or she is so accustomed to being deceitful that she slipped up this time while keeping track of her lies. Could she not remember that in October she said it was a budget pressure when she changed the story and labeled an entire group criminals? An alleged criminal is what she plans to marry.

    She lied on her resume about Baltimore. Where is the data? In short, she is a LIAR. She lied on and about principals so she could bring in replacements who have not done any better. She has lied on teachers about being molesters when she is engaged to marry an alleged molester who spent $230,000 in one instance to silence a family. She tampered in a federal investigation, even played the charade that she was considering putting Johnson's St. Hope program in DC. Even when she tampered in the investigation with the Inspector General that Obama had fired, SHE FULLY KNEW Johnson likes little girls because she'd covered up Michael Clayton style.

    Rhee needs to leave because in reality she had no business being here to begin with.

  • homegrown

    Rhee is typical of all the members of 'the outfit', that's the name her, Fenty and 'da crew' have earned from me! A degree, connections and a pompous attitude gets you in!
    This shit here is reflective of the one track mindedness of 'the outfit' to have complete and total disregard for the interests of dc citizens. This was a strategic move on her part to justify her terminations, to mask her incompetence and to make herself more employable at the expense of black teachers, the timing could not have been better with the recent dismissal of the Sidwell teacher.
    This buckey toofus individual is nothing more than an opportunist who pimped da babies! SHE too will ride off into the sunset after raping and pillaging the city like so many currently and before her......the outfit, syndicate, good fellaz, mob....all befitting for these clowns!

  • sedcdude

    LMAO, HA HA, I've never seen so many gangsta' nerds in my life, all in one administration! Thug administrators, pimp purveyors pandering politics perpertrating poor policies to the poor!

  • Rick Mangus

    Hey 'nodlez' I agree that Rhee has made improvments in the fractured schooled system, it's time to get rid of the dead wood, pronto!

  • Samantha

    Prosecute Rhee, Fenty , Nickles for aiding and abbetting if her allegations are true . Also prosecute Parker for conspiring against the teachers in blocking them as union members from having competent representation in the courts . DISBAR Lee Jackson NOW.These are the Terrorist inflicting deadly harm on DC children and families. The US Attorney should send this to a Grand Jury, bypassing the Wilson Building completely !

  • Korrupt

    Rhee is an ideologue posing as an educator. She needs to go and go now!

  • MysticMan

    The Counsel was looking for something to nail to Rhee to the wall with, and she said the word "sex" they found it!

  • Davis

    I am extremely livid, dismayed and honestly shocked how Chancellor Michelle Rhee, a “Power Player,” according to Oprah Winfrey, can express in a published article explicit slander by generalizing 266 teachers into the categories of a “child molester, a child abuser or, a truant educator.” These comments serve to be beyond fabrication and are blatant insults towards the teachers whom were already wrongfully dismissed out of DCPS system.

    How is it that it took for a questionable "RIF," to occur before these allegations and accusations started to fly out? How is that Rhee never mentioned any of these accusations in front of the DC council nor the judge, while under OATH??? How is it that Mayor Fenty called the teachers whom were RIF'd "ineffective teachers," on Fox 5 news, but never mentioned anything about these allegations??? How is it that parents and the local community were not notified of these allegations; which is her professional duty???

    These allegations effect the entire DC community: teachers, principals,parents, students, etc., and are crippling allegations that just can't be "TAKEN BACK." Rhee MUST be fired immediately for admitting to knowing that teachers were "having sex with children," and not notifying the DC Police or Child Protected Services, and Adrian Fenty should be impeached for supporting Rhee.

  • gamercult

    Rhee is a lying piece of human garbage.Other than that, she's fine. :)

  • sedcdude


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  • Dexter Brendal

    I love those sexy girls , they make me happy ... I would love to read more , please write more and thank you