Parents Demand Elementary Principal’s Dismissal

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — Dozens of parents showed up at a St. Louis Park school board meeting Monday evening to ask that an elementary school principal be removed.

The parents argue Aquila Elementary School principal Freida Bailey and others are not keeping students safe when it comes to bullying. Other parents said Bailey was showing a lack of leadership and judgment.

Parents said changing administration would be better for both students and teachers. One person in attendance said that 16 teachers were so upset they requested transfers from the school, adding there are only 19 classroom teachers at Aquila.

A supporter of Bailey’s said the accusations are not fair, and that only six teachers have asked to transfer.

More than 60 parents showed up for the meeting.

  • Sam I am.

    Glad my kids don’t go there. And why are the parents of these rotten bullies not doing anything or being held accountable as well.

    • I Was There

      Before you go any further please check the video below so you have all the facts.,

      • Craig Martin Stellmacher

        This is a two hour meeting–where is it mentioned?

  • Victim Du Jour

    Unless kids are getting beat up, this looks more like anti-bully hype is being abused and taken advantage of for other things.

    • Ven

      you were abused weren’t you?

    • Trev

      Unfortunately I believe this anti bully chaos will only get worse. Certainly teachers need to step in when fights break out and kids are getting hurt. But where are we going to draw the line? Kids are kids. We are now asking our children to think like adults and be completely sensitive to others who may be different. That isn’t going to happen.

      • laura

        I get kids are going to be kids and make fun of other kids for not having name brand clothes or whatever it is kids pick on others for these days, but when someone purposefully targets one individual and is picking on them nonstop for what ever reason that is when it is bullying. Kids by nature are not mean, my 2 and 3 year old would play with anyone no matter what they looked like or what clothes they have on. Meaness is a taught behavior and it starts with parents, how would you feel if your son or daughter was getting picked on so bad at school that they no longer want to go or they seriously think they would be better off dead. Parents need to step up to the plate and let their children know that it is not ok to pick on another kid just because they feel like it. When you bully you are trying to hide some fault of your own that you don’t want your peers to pick up on.

      • Victim Du Jour

        Kids are suppose to be dumb and stupid. Part of going to school is learning how to act.

        I have a feeling Saint Louis Park has a lot of Stay at home moms.

        This is a “munchausen by Proxy” freak parade playing out on the news.

    • laura

      You can be bullied without using fists. Sometimes words hurt more than punches.

      • Jeepneasy

        Look out, these “words” will hurt too! Words can NOT hurt unless you let them. How about we teach children like we used to! Sticks and stones can break my bones but WORDS can never HURT me!!!!!

        I am so sick of all these over sensitive people expecting everyone to “do something” whenever they are offended. Get over it and grow up. No wonder we are having problems with children these days, their parents still act like they are in JR high!!!

      • Victim Du Jour

        Sounds more like censorship to me.

    • I was There

      They have been

    • I Was There

      They have been beat up. For more info here is a more comprehensive article


  • WHAT?????

    Way to go again and not tell the whole story WCCO. What happened? Were the bullies ever found and I like the questions Sam I am asked, what the heck is happening with the bullies/parents of the bullies? 1s again it looks as if personal accountability is taken out of the equation and that this must have something to do with the school cause my baby is a perfect little angel.

    • Justin Ulrich

      LOL, personally accountability in this country!?

      That has been all but dead for decades.

    • Trev

      Many parents blame their childrens failures on the teachers and their childrens success on themselves.

  • vanessa

    these kids are angry full of rage pottymouths just like there parents,some of the parents are bullies.

  • Victim Du Jour

    In other words, the trendy anti-bully hype is being used to bully a school principle.

  • David J. Conklin

    And not even one example of bullying is reported in the story–very, very interesting.

  • Dr. Suess

    teh accuaracy of this report: Stink, Stank, Stunk!

    • I was There

      It is actually accurate… just incomplete.

  • Bob

    I was at the meeting and parents were very passionate about sharing their concerns with the Superintendent and Board in a public forum, since Board members and the Superintendent have not addressed their concerns even though they have been voicing these same concerns for over a year. The leadership on both ends, the principal, Board members, and Superintendent have not done a thing to address parental complaints. All of this could have been prevented!

    • Ed

      Thanks Bob, you provided more and better info than the WCCO story.

  • Maurice

    I absolutely hate the shoddy reporting here on WCCO’s website. How exactly does principle bailley not show leadership and judgment skills? How many teachers actually transferred? What are the issue’s arising with the bulling policies? How many kids have reported being bullied? Have any kids gone to the school nurse? Have any gone to counselors or school social workers?

    Can we PLEASE have some real reporting! WCCO is turning into a gossip rag of she said,he said.

  • Bob

    Right Maurice! There are problems at Aquila, but a few details would be nice. The article does nothing other than place blame, and there is so much more.

  • Victim Du Jour

    I think the media popularized anti-bully hype, and the media should pay all the salaries and lost wages for this school to be used as a political battleground for pop culture.

  • Jay

    Victim Du Jour, YOU are wrong!! Kids are not in school to learn how to act, they are there to learn. It IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY as parents to teach our kids right from wrong, respect for themselves and others. Babies are not born knowing anything other than to cry, and no directions supplied. You think there are too many stay at homes, better guess again, maybe if there were the parents would have the time to teach their kids. As it stands most parents have to work, the kids are placed in child care where they are not taught how to behave. When kids rule the roost, parents havent got the intelligence to break the habit and teach them the correct behaviors. Schools have the worst part in dealing with kids if parents arent doing their share at home. Too many bullies because parents arent teaching plain and simple.Everyone seems to think the schools are supposed to teach everything besides academics!

    • Trev

      There has been bullying since the beginning of time. Our ancestors have all survived it. It’s part of growing up. Sure, some cases get out of hand and adults do need to step in. But this ridiculous campaign that has emerged lately is blown way out of proportion. We can’t place our kids in a glass bubble. Some kids are not going to get along. We can’t shield our children from all hate or they will not be able to handle it once they are adults. There are some cruel aspects in our culture and children should learn how handle it while they’re still young.

      • Victim Du Jour

        It’s like if you help a chicken hatch from an egg, it becomes weak and dies because it was meant to develop muscles from struggling out of it’s shell.

        All the Schools need to focus on is physical violence.

    • Karen

      The comments of this article made me more outraged than the actual article. Thank you, Jay for providing some common sense.

  • Really??

    WCCO doesn’t have any details on specific bullying incidents because the parents weren’t allowed to talk about that at the meeting last night. All of the parents’ dealings with the board and superintendent up until now have been via emails, phone calls, letters and individual meetings and have been going on for over a year. Ultimately the administration (at all levels) are accountable to these parents. The fact that so many teachers want out of Aquila Primary also speaks volumes. This is a school that until this year had almost zero turnover in teaching staff because it was such a wonderful work environment, despite having a change in leadership once before in recent years. So what happened this year with the arrival of new leadership? Before readers of this hugely incomplete story pass judgment there should be further investigation about what has been going on at Aquila Primary for the past year. Perhaps the school board’s upcoming open forum meetings and additional interviews with more of the people involved will shed more light on the issues and WCCO can have more solid and balanced information to report. Otherwise, the “reporting” only invites speculation that is inaccurate and unfair.

  • TJ

    Having been present in various schools throughout the twin cities over the years I would state that Ms. Bailey’s style is much more hands off and removed than other elementary school prinicipals I have worked with. This is not to say that she is an ineffective principal but her approach and interactions with the staff and students during the dat appeared less direct and involved in many ways.

    The one thing I would say is that she does address behavioral concerns in a direct manner, so I question the accusations and concerns being addressed at this time.

  • Proud Aquila Mom

    I must say this is a total shock to me. My son is a student at Aquila and I volunteer my time as often as I can and I have never had any issues with the school or Mrs. Bailey! I think she is an amazing woman and is not only available to parents but she is very approchable. It’s too bad that this was made public with not all of the facts and with a lot of lies! I attended Aquila myself many years ago and I am proud to have my son attending school there as well! I support Mrs. Bailey 100%!

  • I was There

    I am glad that your experience at Aquila has been 100% positive. Up until this year, ours had been too. Just because none of these things happened to you, does not mean they didn’t happen to others. Also, i think calling fellow concerned parents liars without any reason other than its different from your experience, is not what “Aquila Pride” is about.

  • Cioncerned Aquila Dad

    As a parent of a recently former Aquila student and a current second grader I can state that this is not simply about bullying. It is more about job performamce of an adminsitrator – principal Bailey.
    The two former principles I dealt with in Aquila have been fantastic in pretty much every aspect. If I had an issue and contacted either one, I would get a response within hours. I waited 3 days for principal Bailey to respond to a serious ocncern I had with my second grader. In the conversation all I heard were excuses and and little action to correctthe situation.
    I asked my second grader if he sees Principal Bailey in the halls and he said yes. I asked him if she knew his name and ever said “Hi” to him and he said no. This is after he had a one-on-opne conversation with him due to the situation mentioned previously.
    I have had conversations with teachers at Aquila and they feel that she is not considering their opinion and supporting them in the classroom. Of course you are not going to hear from individual teachers, but 16 out of 19 teachers requesting transfers due to a poor quality principal should be considered a referendum on job performance.

    • I was there Too

      I would like to point out there are not 16 requests. There are 7. There are 45 teachers in that building. Be a ‘cioncered aquila dad’, but do NOT talk for the staff. Unless you talk to all 40some teachers, you do not have a complete story.

      It also should be pointed out that Principal Bailey had surgery and was out for over a month of school. So when you’re upset about not hearing from her for 3 days, learn all the facts and stop assuming.

  • Proud Aquila Mom

    It is not 16 of 19 teachers. Just because someone reports this on tv means it is fact? It amazes me how many people that were at the meeting that come to the school and smile in the staffs face as if they did not see you on the news. If you really feel the way you do than say it. Aquila and St Louis Park Schools are wonderful. There is not one school, job, hang out where there is not going to be bullys. It’s up to us as parents to teach 1and support our kids. Us as parents need to take responsibilty for our kids!

  • Lady Divine

    I wonder, when you all close your eyes and think about these bullies and their parents what you picture them to look like. I can remember an incident from years ago regarding alleged bullying on a Susan Lindgren bus. The solution was to release the “bullies” 15 minutes early so the bus had time to deliver them home before the rest of the students were dismissed. No conflict resolution, decisions were made to accommodate an elite few, and that decision caused a civil rights set-back of 40 years.

    Ours is a diverse community, and to St. Louis Park’s traditional middle class suburban residents, there is a lot we can learn to better understand the culture and actions of one another.

    I realize the concerns of Aquila parents are bigger than this, and I hope our district’s administration will find a process to rectify it peacefully and expeditiously. .

    “”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Frieda, show us what you got!

  • Mary

    The woman who stated that 16 out of 19 teachers requested a transfer admitted that it was lie at the 3/22 meeting. She made the comment “so it was not accurate data, so what?”. I watched her throughout this meeting and her reactions were odd…laughing that she was able to get parents mad with these madeup stories. Then it is revealed that she worked at Cedar Manor under Ms Bailey and she no longer is employed by the district.Now this disgruntled employee is out to get Ms Bailey and doesn’t care that she is interfering with our children’s education.This woman is conducting secret meetings at the Rec Center inviting only “select” parents.This select group is gullable enough to believe her nonscense and fight for her selfish cause….to remove Ms Bailey.Meanwhile, other parents (the majority) are excluded from these meetings. This woman contacted the media and told them about the 3/21 meeting. At the 3/22 meeting we find out her inaccuarcies and she thinks it’s funny. I am saddened to see these parents fooled by this woman. My children are so fortunate to be able to attend Aquila. We will not allow a handful of crazy parents intefere with our children’s education.

    • I Was There

      There is a link above to watch the proceedings for yourself. Contrary to what you have stated, that this whole thing is the result of 1 disgruntled former employee, is perhaps what someone mnight choose to think if they had someype of agenda or bias, but it isnt true.

      When u watch teh video, you will see that all those parents that stood up and spoke had THEIR OWN experiances and that is what they spoke of.

      As far as your statement …”This woman is conducting secret meetings at the Rec Center inviting only “select” parents.This select group is gullable enough to believe her nonscense and fight for her selfish cause….to remove Ms Bailey.Meanwhile, other parents (the majority) are excluded from these meetings.”.

      No one was excluded from anything. The parents organicly came together through the process of trying to have their issues addressed through the appropriate channels: Emails, Voice mails, phone calls, to the principal, superintendent and board.. Would you call information diseminated at a Drama Club meeting for example, “secret” just because would not have heard if if you weren’t interested in drama and thus in the Drama Club?

      The open forum meeting was the ONLY alternate left tho these people after being stonewalled by the entire leadership. Now they are being called Liars, weakminded, red stay at home moms, blah blah blah…..The real shame is that people think they have to “pick a side” or disregard what other parents have experienced simply because its different from their experience. Think about this: “Charlie Manson didnt kill me”,” that’s not the Charlie i know” ,” he seemed nice”, etc. using the same attitude and lack of reality that is present here, not only did charlie not deserve prison, he didnt even do it! regardless of the evidence (and its there).

      If, as you state, “crazy parents.” are the ones that bring their concerns to the proper forum for resolution, then is any one who has a different experiance crazy? Just because it didnt happen to you, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, and certainly no reason to assume that the parents are liars!

      This is exactly the type of polarizing behavior we DO NOT want to teach our kids!

    • Proud Aquila Mom

      Thank you Mary!

  • DG

    “Kids are suppose to be dumb and stupid. Part of going to school is learning how to act.”

    Yeah, and one aspect of that is that bullies should be disciplined for their actions.

  • another proud parent

    All the parent speakers start off saying “I’m here to support all Aquila students” hmmmm…their own ideas…really? We are talking about children learning in a safe environment and you want to talk about Charles Manson….GOOD GRIEF!!!! Why are you parents escalating this? Stop acting like children and act like adults. My child thrives at Aquila. If you’re unhappy then leave.Aquila is a place for parents who are invested in their child’s education not for whiners and not for parents(???) who make up stories.

  • David

    My wife and I received our childrens’ NWEA results. The gains they have made are amazing!!!! We are so fortunate to have a leader like Ms Bailey. Ms Bailey brought Wiggleworks and Aleks to Aquila. Both are computer programs designed to help students with Reading and Math. These programs are not available to all SLP students. They ARE available to Aquila students thanks to Ms Bailey.

  • Aquila Parent

    To the parent who said, “if you are so unhappy with Aquila, then leave”… Be careful you might get what you wish for. But keep in mind all those parents that spoke their mind last week volunteer a lot of hours at the school, provide cash donations and support their school in so many ways. That is why they are so vocal.

    If they leave… they won’t lose, Aquila will. Remember is Aquila has the highest free and reduced population, which usually means a lot less parents willing and able to volunteer!

    All schools need money and parent volunteers to work. The money is fixed, but the volunteer hours can be unlimited.

    I don’t believe Ms. Bailey is excelling at her job. I think she is well below average.

    However, I also say, “Bailey, show us what you got… ” Step it up, return phone calls or emails within 24 hours not days or weeks or never… get involved immediately when there are issues with behavior, walk the halls, spend time in the lunch room, spend time on the play ground, get to know the students and their parents, unite your teachers and make them WANT to work for you! All of this seems to be Principal-ship 101… seems so obvious to me, why is it so difficult.

  • Aquila Supporter

    No, we will not lose. We know what a great school Aquila is and that the Aquila teachers/leadership are second to none. We too volunteer and donate money.We find it odd that parents threaten a school (pulling out their kid,threatening to not give money). This is not pro kid or pro education.

    We have spoken to more than a dozen teachers, all supporting Ms Bailey. We have yet to find one requesting a transfer.We want the best for our children and that is why we are dedicated to Aquila.

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