The Tower Pulse

The Tower Pulse

The Tower Pulse


Which of these would be the hardest to live without

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Urgency for transparency

Cecile Walsh ’24

“Release the report” echoed throughout the Brownell Middle School auditorium on Feb. 27, where countless community members urged for the district to release the 27-page H.R. report regarding current Grosse Pointe Public Schools Board Vice President Ahmed Ismail. After hours of pleas in public comment, the audience was met with blank stares and a board who ignored their wishes as concerned community members.

Last summer, district employees filed an H.R. report against Ismail, who was the Board President at the time. According to the executive summary released by the district, Ismail reportedly made alarming statements, such as a scheme to “push out” two North administrators, causing the two employees to come forward in a recent Detroit News article on Feb. 29. The full investigation done by attorneys hired by the district found that Ismail did engage in retaliatory behavior towards the two complainants. This was not accepted by the then-Interim Superintendent Chris Fenton.

With the release of the document, the entire district and the concerned Grosse Pointe community members would be able to understand who they are electing to lead them, which we believe is essential to choosing fair leaders. We at The Tower believe that, without clarity and the release of these documents, knowing who to vote for in the next School Board election will become more difficult to navigate because of the lack of transparency.

As members of the community, students are ultimately the people who are most affected by the decisions of the School Board. Students should be able to trust public officials who represent and make decisions for the schools to hold themselves accountable. The release of the full report is something we at The Tower feel is essential in order to keep the transparency of the district and community informed. Public officials should stay true to their title and keep everything that needs to be public, public.

During regular session board meeting on Feb. 27, Ismail repeatedly apologized for his actions that were uncovered in the investigation and multiple school board trustees called for his resignation. Many who spoke during public comment called for the same, along with the release of the full report. We at The Tower believe that, if someone is unable to treat others with the respect all humans deserve, isn’t willing to learn from their mistakes or is unwilling to give the community clarity, they should not be in a seat of power.

Although there were other allegations made against Ismail, we at The Tower are not able to specifically comment on them due to the fact that they are not proven. The alleged actions are possibly addressed in the unreleased document.After ten Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) attempts made by The Tower to request access to the full complaint, we have only received the executive summary that has been making its rounds on community Facebook pages. We will continue to report as information becomes available. If anyone in the community has the full report, The Tower would like access to use in our reporting process. Please email to [email protected].

We understand a full release is not always the precedent. Though Ismail claimed the school system had never released anything other than executive summaries and superintendent’s determinations, The Tower’s request for a full report was granted back in 2018 after the investigation into Jeremy Hawkins, the athletic director at the time. This document was instrumental to The Tower’s reporting process and to the South community’s understanding of our administration. Using that precedent, we believe it should be part of the district’s protocol to release the full report to the public. Transparency and communication are the start to building trust between the community and the School Board—something every district deserves. Our school board should not have anything to hide, so why are they withholding this information now?

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Cecile Walsh ’24
Cecile Walsh ’24, Print Editor in Chief
Cecile Walsh is creative in every way possible. She is super crafty; painting her nails every weekend and producing little projects whenever she can. She’s an active member of the Poetry Slam club and goes on fun trips, such as the Mackinac Island trip as part of the Poetry Slam club. In her free time, she is a personal assistant to a local children’s book author, pursuing her love of English outside of school. Cecile joined Tower to use her love of writing to become more immersed in the news and what’s going on in the world, as well as to help others become more aware and in the loop. “It can be really interesting and fulfilling to help people stay more informed,” Walsh said. This year, she hopes to stay on top of all of her duties, to progress throughout the school year.

Comments (1)

All The Tower Pulse Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • M

    Maria WilliamsApr 10, 2024 at 4:05 pm

    Kudos to the student journalists at The Tower for their excellent reporting and commentary on this very important issue.