Evans said several students — including some with disabilities — spent the majority of the school year in a room for misbehaving kids, overseen by staff tasked with keeping behavior under control instead of by certified teachers.
Evans said that meant students who were legally required to receive certain services tailored to their disabilities missed out on those services.
“These children are not receiving the services they’re legally owed, services that I was not hired to fulfill as a non-special ed classroom teacher,” Evans wrote in her resignation letter, which was obtained by The Post. “In many ways, I feel like I am failing the children by leaving. But after much reflection, I know that I am failing them even more by contributing to Options’ ongoing operation.”
Jeff Smith, who worked for Options until he became director of public affairs for EEMC in July, denied that any children are spending most of their time in the room for misbehaving students. But he said it’s possible that some students did not receive required special-education services while in that room.
Smith, who is not named in the city’s legal complaint, said that he wasn’t sure whether the allegations against his colleagues were true. But, he said, it does seem that “something drastically different needs to happen with regard to governance and monitoring.”
Charles A. Vincent, the executive director of Options, did not respond to a phone message left at his home Wednesday. But in court documents detailing the work of a forensic accountant the charter school board hired to investigate the case, Vincent expressed concern about the financial transactions with EEMC and EES.
In reference to Options staff moving to the private companies and securing large contracts with the school they had just left, Vincent said he “did not think they would get away with it,” according to court documents. He had thought “they would be smarter because after all, this is Washington.”
Mike DeBonis, Paul Farhi and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.