Tenants Protest New CHA School Reporting Policy

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Resident leaders said they would fight a proposed CHA policy that would allow the agency to get reports from teachers and other school personnel on the conduct of school children whose parents are public housing tenants.

Francine Washington, Washington Park Scattered Site president, told Residents’ Journal she was upset after the CHA proposed the policy at a public hearing on March 29 at the CHA’s Charles A. Hayes Family Investment Center.

“This is the last act,” Washington said. “They’re putting us back in slavery. I wonder when do we come and sign the master’s books.”

The new CHA policy requires tenants to sign a release which would allow teachers and other school officials to provide reports to CHA about “the conduct of any school aged child between the ages of six to 17.”

Any tenant that does not sign the release could be evicted, according to the new proposed policy, which is still in the public comment period.

During the public hearing about the policy, Myra King, a member of the CHA Board of Commissioners and head of the tenant Central Advisory Council (CAC), told CHA officials that the resident leadership warned that the policy would cause discrimination against their children and vowed to challenge this “unfair” policy.

King and Washington said the policy would cause CHA kids to face discrimination from their teachers and fellow students.

“The CAC and all of the LAC presidents are in total disappointment and in disapproval of you wanting the children’s report cards,” King declared.
“It’s unfair and it’s discriminatory. We want our children to go to school, and learn, be just as smart and comfortable as all the other children.
“We have to look out for our children. And that’s just not going to happen,” King added.

Also speaking to the CHA officials, Washington said, “You want our names, our social security numbers, our birthdates, our mother’s maiden names, our first born, our last born. You want our bank accounts. Now, you’re telling us you want the teachers at school to report to you on our children? What else do we have left?
“The first time that child does something wrong and gets out of order, they are going to say, ‘Oh, I should have known that was you. You’re from the CHA’
“That’s putting a stigma on our kids.”

CHA officials sat silently gazing at her.

An e-mailed statement on this issue from CHA reads, in part:
“This information will help CHA assess the impact and types of services offered to families with school aged children. It is very important to CHA that the privacy of our families and their children remain secure.
“The intention of this proposed change is to help families, not hinder them.”

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