Nashville Schools open August 7th, I can see the halls will be abuzz with the latest scandal to hit the district. From leaded drinking water that led to an admonishment on CBS This Morning news regarding the district's response, the cover up and the denials to the Director's inappropriate song choice during a Principal Meeting leading to race cards tossed, teams picked and in turn a highly public drama over his annual performance evaluation all over the issue of a budget shortfall for both the cities and schools here in the "It" city. We now are facing thousands, yes thousands, allegations of sexual impropriety with a Judge ruling to stop the district from asking past sexual history and health issues of students who have filed Title IX suits to resolve what the City Police and Courts refused to do. And now this story:
Principal Accused Of Conduct That 'Would Make Stormy Daniels Blush'
Phil Williams News Channel 5
Jul 23, 2018
A Nashville principal has faced allegations of creating a culture that "would make Stormy Daniels blush."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A Nashville principal has faced allegations that he created a culture inside his school that "would make Stormy Daniels blush," a NewsChannel 5 investigation has discovered.
Among the allegations against John F. Kennedy Middle School principal Dr. Sam Braden: unwanted sexual advances, sexually suggestive comments, and efforts to intimidate those who speak out. He's even accused of hiring one school worker from a local adult bookstore that he frequented.
The allegations are detailed inside two Metro Schools internal investigations obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates. (Read the full reports here.)
Braden has insisted that he did nothing wrong. He declined to comment for this report.
Do you have information for our investigation?
"This is happening, and people know about it," said a man who made one of the first complaints against Braden.
The man didn't want to show his face or reveal his identity because, he said, what happened to him was so embarrassing.
He said he met Braden while working for a furniture company. He delivered a TV to the principal's house, and Braden suggested he come to work at JFK Middle as a clerk and as a football coach.
"I really thought it was a good foot in the door for Metro because it is a good company to work for," the man told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.
But right after the start of last year's fall semester, the man told investigators, Braden had a strange question.
It was the same story he shared with NewsChannel 5.
"First week of school, he asked me 'you didn't thank me yet, have you?' Yes, I have thanked you, I thanked you a couple of times. 'No, you haven't thanked me.' That's when he went from my eyes to my crotch," the man said.
We asked, "He was obviously looking at your crotch?"
"Yes, obviously," the man said. "He kind of rared back in his seat, bit his lip and went from eyes to crotch."
The man said he tried to ignore Braden's suggestions, but his boss wouldn't take the hint.
"That's when they started getting more aggressive, his advances started getting more aggressive."
Then, one day last December, the man told investigators, Braden asked him to step behind his desk.
"Come around the desk and let me taste it," the man remembered Braden saying.
"Referring to oral sex?" we asked.
"Yes, sir. I looked at him and I said, 'Excuse me.' And he's like, 'yeah, you know.' That's when I let him know, like, I'm a married man. And he lets me know he's a married man as well. I'm like, yeah, my marriage probably means a little bit more."
But before the man left, he told investigators, Braden had a warning.
"He says to me, you know, I can make it really difficult for you to get a job with Metro or I could make it really easy," the man recalled.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "He's telling you that he has power over you?"
"You thought that was a threat?"
Among the first people he went to was assistant principal Howard Jones.
Jones reported it to Central Office, and Braden was called to Human Resources.
But instead of being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, as usually happens, the principal was sent back to his school.
Jones later emailed HR officials, saying: "I was directed by Dr. Braden to escort the victim out of the building with a police escort."
He added, "This was awful."
"You have a hallway full of kids and now you have coach being escorted out," the man recalled.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "So what was going through your mind when this police officer was escorting you out of the school building?"
"That he really kept his end of what he said, that he would make it really, really difficult."
Braden later denied the allegations to investigators, claiming it was either "a form of retaliation" for a reprimand he'd given the man... or because he was "a little jealous."
But Metro's own investigative files are filled with other allegations against the JFK principal.
A teacher told investigators about a custodian who suddenly left, supposedly because "Braden was coming on to him."
There is no evidence in the file that HR investigators followed up on that lead.
A bookkeeper said Braden had inquired about whether the coach "might be bi-sexual."
She also claimed that another recent hire revealed he had previously worked at Miranda's adult bookstore, that he "has been knowing Braden for four years from being a frequent customer."
In fact, that employee's job application does show that he worked at Miranda's for three years prior to going to work at JFK Middle.
The alleged victim said the recent hire was very open about his past.
"He was actually an attendant there, said Dr. Braden used to come by often, he said that was their relationship," he recalled.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "So what did people think the fact that the principal had hired someone from an adult bookstore?"
He answered, "You know what, I think that's one of those that he thought that with him being who he is, that it wouldn't matter, I can hire who I want to hire."
Those investigative files also reveal another assistant principal kept a journal about Braden's conduct.
One entry reads, "Interviewed woman. When she left, he stated that one of her boobs was bigger than the other one, so he couldn't hire her."
Another staff member noted that Braden claimed he saw another teacher "scratching her p....y."
Two male teachers also reported the principal liked to boast about his penis size.
The alleged victim said he saw it when attractive moms would come to school to check on their children.
"He'd say, for instance, 'yeah she couldn't handle big daddy,' then do a little tug at the pants."
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "He would say that about a parent?"
The man exclaimed, "A parent! You know, it's like we're all in the front office. You're the principal, man. You can't say these things, but there was never anything above him saying it."
Ultimately, HR personnel concluded there was "not sufficient evidence to support a finding of sexual harassment," although they concluded his behavior might have been "intimidating and inappropriate."
They recommended Braden be given "management training."
His alleged victim wasn't so lucky.
"I knew that if I did say something, that it would ruffle some feathers and I may walk away from this job," he recalled.
The man was told he could come back to work, but says he didn't want to be anywhere near Braden.
So, he quit.
He's tried to get jobs with other Nashville schools, but says those fell through when the principals checked with JFK Middle.
Assistant principal Howard Jones later filed a complaint, alleging that Braden retaliated against him for reporting the man's allegations. Braden eliminated Jones' position at JFK Middle.
"I have witnessed verbal atrocities in this school under the guise of education that would make Stormy Daniels blush and now I'm displaced by that same element," Jones wrote to HR officials.
"This type of bullying and retaliation is not fair or professional to the employees, students, parents or this city that we are to serve."
As for Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph, he recently warned school board members that there might be some upcoming stories about the district's HR investigations. He promised to push lawmakers to make such files confidential in the future.
That made no sense to the man who says he was the one violated.
"You're not trying to adjust this situation, you're not even trying to attack it. You just want to sweep this under the rug, this never happened."
The files contain lots of other allegations, including school employees being asked to lie about the alleged victim being habitually late -- something that Dr. Braden also denied.
Metro Schools spokesperson Dawn Rutledge said, in a statement to NewsChannel 5 Investigates, that Braden should have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation was conducted.
But Rutledge said the initial leave letter was improperly drafted.
"There was some confusion regarding reissuing a corrected leave letter to reflect our current practice," she said. "Unfortunately, the re-issuance of the correct version of the administrative leave letter did not take place and Dr. Braden returned to work."
The spokesperson also claimed that Braden had the accuser escorted from campus because there were "allegations" that he "was being disruptive."
However, no such allegation is ever mentioned in the HR files.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates reached out to Dr. Braden last week, asking him to sit down with us to give us his side of the story.
His response: "I have no comment."
The follow up the next night found the Board meeting behind closed doors and the pharase "Lawyering up" would not be inappropriate, shame Michael Cohen is a busy as this seems right up his alley.
Now to throw the race card into the mix all the players in this sordid story are Black. They are probably Church goers and in turn considered pillars of the community, the students they serve are largely Black and in turn are to be the role models as well as Educators. I have long said I was never anyone's role model and in turn I have always had clear lines and boundaries. I don't like the "love" word used with the Children and in turn I call Students just that or "young people" as they are just than young people. Funny how kids object to that as they think they are adults and in Nashville the confused concept of age and sexuality here is something I finally understand given the systemic poverty and family dynamics that comprise the culture here. This and that I have said that Children and Education fall to the last on the hierarchy of import here - Money, Church, Gender, Race, Family history and lastly Children and Education. They be stupid here and I am done saying it any other way. And yes this affects very much how I perceive race as the expression goes "He who accuses, excuses" At some point you have to own your evil and this is some pretty evil shit.
The level of hypocrisy here gives new meaning to the contradictory antithetical behavior that I witness here explains the hypersexual behavior of children, their constant mixed messaging and overall perception of themselves as adults. The lack of education, the lack of community, the poverty, the social isolation and marginalization means their development and cognitive processing is truly damaged possibly beyond repair and no one is accountable. Again how can you fix what is centuries old?
So when I do talk about the schools here, my second least favorite topic of conversation, the constant refrain is "Why don't you teach in Williamson County?" Sure I will move, buy a car and go to a district to make the same shitty money just to avoid the poverty and dysfunction of Nashville Public Schools? Sure no other district in the state has the level of these problems but they are hardly exempt from the crazy, recall this story about the kidnapping? Not the first nor the last as this crosses county lines when it comes to Teacher/Student rapes and assaults. But this is not new as almost all the counties have similar scandals nor are the private schools.
There is a toxicity when it comes to sex in ways I have never seen in my life and it crosses races in ways that do nothing to enable me to point fingers and lay blame as these are all "educated" professionals acting on clearly sexual urges that they are unable to contain or manage in healthy ways. And I wonder why the married Doctor was like a 16 year old let out of house restriction when he dropped me off in my neighborhood that night after bringing his wife to meet me at the Mr. Rogers movie. I was optimistic that he truly would rise above the absurdity that I ended up witnessing in these METOO times but alas no. I am not sure that would be different anywhere else but it confirmed once again my worst beliefs and fears about the people here. I don't like them and they me but I get why they don't like me - my directness, my independence and my intelligence. Those are three cards they cannot play so they demean me personally and bless their hearts I don't actually give a fuck
All of life is about timing and luck. I am taking time right now to just enjoy my time here however I can manage to do so and so far from Infrared Saunas, Salt Caves, Acupuncture, Yoga, Meditation and traveling enables me to find some piece of mind. Well school starts in a week or so and I am off to Iceland to just keep my cool. 16 Months and Counting. Times up!