Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
Building Dissent For three years, parents of the Bethune-Woodson African- Centered School have been in a lawsuit with DCPS over a home for their school. Last September, DCPS disbanded the school after parents repeatedly protested Bethune-Woodson’s building assignments (“Class Dismissed,” 9/25/98). Outside the courtroom, parental charges against DCPS quickly escalated beyond mere real estate quibbles: “Superintendent Ackerman used Gestapo intimidation tactics when she assigned a ‘Goon Squad’ to follow Director [Abena] Walker while at work and at home,” reads a press release from Concerned Parents of the Bethune-Woodson African-Centered School. “[O]fficials harassed Director Walker and her family by questioning the director’s neighbors about Director Walker and her children as part of Superintendent Ackerman’s ‘Nazi-like’ campaign of intimation.” Walker says that although the specific terms are not hers, essentially the statements are true. “It’s a personal retaliation against me by Ms. Ackerman,” Walker claims. Schools spokesperson Devonya Smith, who was specifically named a “Goon Squad” member, says DCPS officials followed procedures to make sure Bethune-Woodson moved to the correct sites.