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Regarding the embarrassing, misrepresenting, unsubstantiating, and deceptive untruth, we demand a retraction of this scarring, preposterous indictment leveled against H.D. Woodson Senior High School and the District of Columbia Public School system (“Escape From DCPS,” 3/28).

As evidenced by Woodson’s graduation percentage, the number of students going to college, the amount of individual scholarships received, the number of colleges offering scholarships, and the annual total amount of scholarships, the reporter’s research and information regarding DCPS scholarships lacks credibility and substance.

Woodson High School, due to dedicated services of our guidance department—working weekends and during summer months without pay, arriving to work before the contractual duty hour and remaining at work after hours, and giving up lunch periods while counseling students—and an established plan of servicing prospective graduates/college-bound students—has averaged over $700,000 in scholarships during the past 10 years.

As students enroll in Woodson, they are programmed to seek help from homeroom teachers, counselors, assistant principals, and, finally, the principal if all else fails. Very seldom does the need reach the principal. In the case of Iyabo Akinadewo, neither the homeroom teacher nor assistant principal were ever informed of any counseling difficulties.

The “runaround” allegation against me reminds me of the Marcus Garvey and McKinley High School scenarios. After returning Tom Stabile’s telephone call and alerting him to the proper procedure of the press to interview DCPS personnel, which he claims he followed, he obviously assumed that he was guaranteed an interview with Ms. Saxon Graham.

Stabile arrived at Woodson on a very busy day, requesting to speak to me. I was unavailable, so he was sent to the office of Ms. Graham, who reminded him that neither she nor the principal had been authorized to speak to him.

Having had an opportunity to speak to the father of Iyabo Akinadewo, along with Graham, I am certain of Stabile’s agenda. Deception and untruths seemed to have been the very essence of Stabile’s agenda from day one. The father’s written account, requested by me, will vindicate the character of Graham and the school system.

Graham, whose character has been severely tarnished after 30 years of prominent service, will certainly acknowledge her log of student appointments, SAT information, parental involvement, and other concerns bred by this character-damaging journalism.

Considering the attitudes of recruiters, Mentor’s Inc.’s counselor, and other persons interviewed by Stabile and his apparent agenda, it matters very little whether he interviewed Graham or not. Stabile’s agenda is very clear. And after thoroughly reading the article and comparing interpretations with the staff, students, and parents, I clearly see a continued bashing of DCPS. It is unfortunate that the writer, who is less than caring about this student and her family, used this student as his vehicle to write such an astonishingly preposterous story…using children at any cost.

Cleo Davis Jr., Ed. D.


H.D. Woodson Senior High School