Sic Semper Tyrannis

When Gale Ladehoff, principal of the Clear Horizons Early College High School in the Clear Creek Independent School District (and Official Woman), assigned a student to Saturday school because of excessive absences, she may not have known that the absences were due to a medical condition. She may not have known that this unwarranted discipline would cause the family logistical difficulties.

The student’s father met with Ms. Ladehoff and tried to explain the situation to her. She was not interested. I’ll let the student’s dad, Houston family lawyer Ron of Ron’s Insanity, pick it up here:

Tyrants have no appreciation for dialog. [Principal Gale Ladehoff] says that “rules” must be enforced. I, in my usual tactful and discerning manner, tell her that this is simply asinine. She obviously has no appreciation of my attitude. While there was no real attempt by her to dialog, things really break down when I tell her that i don’t give a damn about her rules.

She tells me the meeting is over. I’m standing there dumbfounded. “You’re stopping the meeting because I disagree with you?” I ask. Apparently once a tyrant declares that the meeting is over, you suddenly become persona non grata and become subject to forced removal. Her associate asks, “should I call security?” My sarcastic response to her was, “oh yes, call security, because I’m obviously a threat.”

Well, tyrants, when having their authority questioned, tend to rely on armed force, so security was called. Fortunately for me, by the time they arrived, I’d already left and was trying to get my son and his belongings rounded up for the ride home.

Now, I have a major problem with someone calling the police on someone just trying to have a discussion with a public official in a public place. So, when I get home, I email the tyrant, er I mean principal, and tell her that I am calling a meeting with her superior regarding this incident.

The response to my email? While I was expecting a response telling me the time and date of the conference, what I received was a note from the principal that my son was now suspended for 3 days and will be assigned to a disciplinary alternate educational placement (known in the educational establishment lingo as DAEP). Yes, disagree with the tyrant and we ship the family members off to the concentration camp.

We’ve all had to deal with the petty bureaucrat who, unaccountable to the customers, feels free to abuse his power. The smaller the kingdom, the bigger the tyrant. Gale Ladehoff felt free to retaliate against Ron by putting Ron’s kid in DAEP because a) Ron can’t fire her; and b) nobody else was watching.

She’s wrong on the second count, at least. Lots and lots of people are watching. Even if nobody else links to this post, 150 or so people will see it. If it pisses one of them off, a thousand people will see it. And this post, as well as Ron’s, will be around forever.

Five years from now someone — a prospective boyfriend, a prospective employer — is going to Google Gale Ladehoff’s name. And what’s going to turn up? Ron’s post.


0 responses to “Sic Semper Tyrannis”

  1. I am pissed off. It wasn’t fighting, disrupting, not even the dog eating his homework. Justifiable absences due to illness get made up, if not on Saturday, then some other negotiated way. You certainly don’t penalize and stigmitize a kid when he bears no blame. What the hell are they teaching education majors these days? I feel for you Ron.

  2. And I just read this, and you know how I feel about school officials who abuse their power. By tomorrow, we may have a movement.

  3. Hello,

    I’ll be the first to admit, some (many?) school officials have serious problems, especially regarding how they treat people. Certainly Ms. Ladehoff’s refusal to accept the doctor’s note and suspension of Ron’s son is outrageous, seconded only by her superiors’ apparent support for her (according to Ron’s original post).

    Assuming Ron’s story features no material misstatements or omissions, Ms. Ladehoff should be a serious candidate for at least a written reprimand, if not demotion or suspension.

    Just one other thing, though: in the future, Ron should watch his tone and manner. If I had been the principal and had – for whatever reason – closed the meeting and he failed to leave, especially after expressing anger like that (however justified his feelings were [IMHO] in that case), I would have called the police too.

    Once Ron insisted on staying where he was – rightly or wrongly – no longer welcome, he was trespassing. Not only was he breaking the law in one way, but his tone and manner could give reasonable people the impression that he might soon break it in other ways too.

    So, that made Ron (perhaps unfairly) look bad when he should have looked his best in contrast with the tyrant masquerading as an educator. It might have had something to do with which side the assistant superintendent took.


    Jeff Deutsch

  4. While we are talking about calling the police because a parent disagreed with an administrator, isn’t the whole school district police thing out-of-control? I’m amazed how one kid can slap another kid, who then defends himself, and both are cited into JP court. Even if 15 witnesses say the victim was clearly defending themself against an aggressor, the victim is cited. When the -ISD officer is asked “What about Chapter 9 of the Penal Code which says you have a right to defend yourself?”, the usual policy is “It’s -ISD policy that both get cited.”

    So school policy trumps state law? Even though the officer knows that a person has a right to self-defense, he charges them for exercising it.

    On another note, when we teach kids that you never fight back and that it is a crime to defend yourself, its no wonder how someone can walk into a classroom and just start shooting people with no resistance.

  5. Jeff

    The time frame between being told the meeting was over and having security called was probably less than 2 minutes. I never insisted on staying, nor did I really want to stay. I was too dumbfounded. I was like “What? Are you serious?”

    Jack has it right. Not only can these people be tyrants, but we’ve given them way too easy access to police power.

    I posted another story about sitting in a school lobby waiting to have a meeting and being hauled back and given a blatant lie of a criminal trespass warning.

  6. As a new lawyer, I was amazed at the number of people calling in with class C offenses stemming from incidents in schools that even when I was a student would have been handled by an in-house chat with the principal and a call to the child’s parents or a conference. Now municipalities have learned that school shenanigans can be a revenue generator, and spit balls or smart aleck remarks can mean a trip to jp/municipal court for all involved. Nevermind the disruption to the economy that is caused by parents missing work, as well as the waste of judicial resources and public sector man hours. But hey, when every ISD has its own police agency, what do you expect? Unbelievable.

    People who home-schooled used to be looked at as the crazies, but after seeing what public schools have become, their decision seems totally sane. Maybe that’s what I’ll do when I have a kid. Besides, this way he/she will have a real shot at winning the National Spelling Bee.

  7. Ron’s story is very upsetting. As a parent of a child who isn’t quite school age yet, I already dread dealing with the public school system.

  8. Thank god for religious schools. My only contact with state-run education was university, and it sucked. Private law school, here I come.

  9. My daughter goes to a school run by the Christian Scientists, and we love it.

    Most public schools have degenerated into either state-approved child abuse or glorified baby-sitting services.

    In Russia, schooling only goes up to tenth grade — but most Russian tenth graders know more than American twelth graders.

    And we wonder why the dropout rate is so high? The dirty little secret is that the high-IQ kids are just as likely to drop out as the low-IQ ones. It’s the drones in the middle who are most likely to graduate.

  10. Four quick points.

    1) “It’s -ISD policy that both get cited.” Sounds like a way for lazy and cowardly intelects to avoid having to make value judgments. If you cite the kid that starts the fight but not the other one, well then parents call, complain, “Why are you picking on my little angel?” etc. If you cite both kids it is unfair, but it is also CYA. When it comes to bureaucrats CYA conquers all.

    2) Sounds to me like Ron was rather rude to Ms. Ladehoff… that however is no justification for her to take it out on Ron’s son by assigning him to DAEP.

    3) Re bright kids being dropouts…”Ritilan is a drug you give kids who are brighter than their teachers.”

    4) I’m going to copy Ron’s post and e-mail it over to Bill Bill O’Reilly. I’m not a big fan of Bill O’Reilly, but he sure does love to go after wayward educational bureaucrats like Ms.Ladehoff. I’d like to request that other folks do the same. Forward it on to News 2 as well. Sending it to some of the local talk raido hosts might do some good too, and the Houston Press while you are at it.

    There is NOTHING one of these people fear more than getting their name on the news…. it brings them to the attention of their higher ups in a sudden and exciting way that is even worse than getting sued.

  11. This is the truth. Take it from me, I’m a student at Clear Horizons. I sent an email to Mrs. ladehoff myself once. She called me to the office for “disrespect” and started making responses about my various blogs. You don’t want to make her mad, or you’ll get on her “hitlist”.

  12. I, also, am a student at Clear Horizons Early College High School, and a classmate of Ron’s son, and also a friend of his. I have had no major run-ins with Ms. Ladehoff (thankfully, no one likes being called to the principal’s office), but I have with one of the teachers and was sent to her office. I explained the situation where the teacher had misunderstood me, and she seemed not very interested, even when I started crying (I get upset very easily when I have angered a teacher).

    However, I have also read Mr. Hunter’s blog, and feel some things may have been a little stretched. We’ll never know if Mr. Hunter was as polite as he said he was, but if he has the same personality as his son, it’s likely not. Then again, he is a professional, so who knows.

    The administrative board at CHECHS is crazy, and it is a school in its first year of life, but I’m wondering if there were any background checks on Ladehoff.

  13. It’s been this way for 30 years.

    When I was in 4th grade at Ponderosa Elementary, an execrable part of NW Houston, my standardized test results were not up to par. In fact the results would have consigned me to the Short Bus, had it not been for the lioness who is my mother.

    I had a history as a fairly mouthey fourth grader; nothing serious, but I was bored out of my mind and showed it by alternating between bravo performance and utter disregard for homework. I insisted on referring to “Social Studies” as “Socialist Studies” because our teacher lauded the Tennessee Valley Authority and other Depression-era projects as Great Leaps Forward, ala red China.

    My parents fought their move to put me in special ed, and I remained on for another year until my parents found a suitable private school.

    Fast-forward to today. I received my MD degree ten years ago, then returned to software development as a profession; I guess those early passions are the best for a career. I’ve published in medical journals and in several computer journals, and developed software for Microsoft and other fortune 100 companies.

    So you judge: was I fit for remedial school?

    RON, I say to you sir, KUDOS! Fight the good fight, make those miserable craven little bureaucrats and their Viagra-envying selves miserable, and for goodness’ sake, remove your child from that oppressive gulag and send him on to a real education.

    Turns out, at the time my growing fascination with computers led me to learn binary ASCII code, and I filled in the “ABCDE” answer dots with a binary code I thought would hack the test computers…wrong code it turned out, I know better now. But the result was a failed test.

  14. I too am a student at CHECHS and have had several unpleasant encounters with the tyrant that is Ladehoff. She has violated many student rights on multiple occasions and I believe it is time for a change in leadership. She and her cronies need to be replaced. Mrs. Knochel is just as concieted as Ladehoff is and is completely subservient to her. She will help screw kids over if you look at her wrong. Then there is the enormous Mrs. Monica who is Ladehoff’s personal slave. I believe it was either Mrs. Knochel or Mrs. Monica who called security on Ron. Others and I are in the process of gathering evidence against Ladehoff, but we are but mere students and can easily be expelled if Ladehoff were to find out our identities. That is why I am using an alias and a seperate email account for this. I am looking for anyone who may have information on any of these matters who is willing to share or interested in finding out more. I am also looking for someone to help us to remove her from power because as I said before; we are but mere students and can be easily expelled. So if anyone is interested in helping please contact me. We have a mutual friend that is very active in this as well. I hope my pleas for help do not go unanswered.

  15. I too am a student and know the other students that have posted negative blogs as well. The only reason they don’t like the staff at school is that they are constantly in trouble. This school is for students that want to get ahead in life and get a high school diploma while going to college at the same time. It take a certain level of maturity that these kids do not have. They do stupid stuff at school that keeps the rest of us from learning what we are supposed to when they are constantly interupting class with their behavior. What I find amazing is that a lawyer does not seem to know the attendance laws of Texas. Also to all the bloggers that think cutting school is not a crime, you might want to think about where the funding for public schools come from. Funding is based upon a student actually attending the school. No wonder all the after school programs are no longer funded. I am hooping that this program does not get it’s funding cut as this is the only way I have to attend college as I do not have the money that Mr. Hunter does. It sounds like Mr. Hunter does not have any respect for authority as he could only cut it until the 11th grade.

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