July 8, 2008

Chancellor Michelle Rhee


825 North Capitol St. NE

9th Floor

Washington, DC  20002

Dear Ms. Rhee,

I am responding to your letter dated June 19.  There are several factual errors in the letter, which I will correct here.

First of all, I contacted Ms. Greer after going to Stuart-Hobson for the lunch time meeting on February 27.  This was because upon returning to the office I received a call from our faculty advisor, Mr. Leonard Booker saying that Principal Brandon Eatman had called him and said that he had not received word that my background check had cleared.  Since, as mentioned below, there was not a clear procedure for “clearing” my background check, and I was told that it normally takes three to four days, I believed that it had cleared.  About a week later I received a letter in the mail that it had cleared.  The letter was dated the day after I went to Stuart-Hobson.  However, who is to say that it had not already cleared, and the letter had not yet been produced?  This is especially relevant since Ms. Greer never contacted me to let me know that it had cleared.  In fact, on March 28, the day of our meeting, I called Ms. Greer and she till could not say whether or not my background check had cleared, although it had cleared one month earlier. 

I would also like to point out for the record that the procedure for getting the background check was unclear.  At the fingerprinting office, no one know who should “sign off’ on the form.  I was shuttled to several offices before I asked Mr. Nyankori, who then had to have an assistant hand deliver the form to Ms Greer for signing.

It is incorrectly stated in your letter that the additional requirement to get a background check was sent the next day,.  I received three meeting follow up emails from Mr. Nyankori before getting the one you mentioned, and none of them referred to the need for a background check. The one that did mention the background check was send after business hours (5:36 pm) two days later (February 20).  Therefore, this “requirement” was added on three business days and four emails later.

Finally, I did not alter any school log records in any way, as you incorrectly state in your letter.  Since the assistant principal had approved our lunchtime meeting, and it was announced over the PA system in the morning, why would I try to hide my presence in the building, or alter the time? The fact is, the administrators in the building were aware of the meeting and approved of it.  That is why we held the meeting.  It is not, as you imply, because we were willfully disregarding “rules”.


Richard Urban
Co-founder & Executive Director