August 1, 2021

Student, Not Teachers, Feels Heavy Hand of Justice

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In Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), there exists a double standard by the school system and its police department when dispensing justice between students and teachers.

For evidence of this, examine the circumstances between a student, Jose Bautista, an 18 year old senior at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School, and Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin and Mrs. Brenda Muchnick, two teachers at Miami Norland Senior High School. Each did something terribly wrong, each was treated very differently.

The question: Has justice been served?

According to a local news report, Mr. Bautista, was arrested and charged with eight felonies counts for allegedly obtaining the principal’s network password and offering to change grades for four students for an unknown sum of money. He was on track to graduate with his class at the end of May. On Friday, May 2nd, a judge set Bautista’s bond at $20,000 and ordered him to be placed under house arrest with a GPS monitor. He has since been released from jail.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools released a statement saying, “The school district takes incidents like this very seriously.  In addition to the arrest and ongoing criminal investigation, the Code of Student Conduct provides for corrective strategies up to and including recommendation for expulsion.”

It is unclear if Bautista will be allowed to graduate.

During the 2011-2012 school year, Mr. Fleurantin and Mrs. Muchnick gave the answers to standardized tests, industry certification exams, to a large number of students. Seventeen students confessed to this, some saying whole classes received the answers.

The Miami-Dade OIG Final Report concluded that, “Miami Norland has benefited in the form of attaining a higher school grade and may have received financial compensation or other benefit resulting from its high pass rate on the industry certification exams” (page 13).

With the assistance of cheating, undertaken by Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin and Mrs. Brenda Muchnick, Miami Norland’s school grade went from a “C” for the 2010-11 school year to an “A” for the 2011-12 school year.

As a result, total federal funds (SIG, RTTT) given out due to a grade influenced by cheating was $100,560; the total state funds per FSRP was between $130,000- $140,000; the total overall combined federal and state incentive funds were $230,560- $240,560.

Each teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School received $1730.41 from all three payouts.

On October 16, 2013, the Miami-Dade School Board voted to terminate Mr. Emmanuel Fleurantin for his role in what has become known as Adobegate.

On November 19, 2013, the Miami-Dade School Board voted to suspend Mrs. Brenda Muchnick for 30 working days without pay for her role in Adobegate.

Mr. Fleurantin is still awaiting the results from his Department of Administrative Hearings case, and Mrs. Muchnick served her inconsequential 30 day suspension without pay and has been back to work at Norland Since January 8, 2014, whereas the whistle-blower, Trevor Colestock, was illegally removed from Norland and has yet to be returned.

Mr. Fleurantin and Mrs. Muchnick were both investigated by M-DCPS and Schools Police, but unlike the student Jose Bautista, both were not charged, handcuffed, or appeared before a judge.

How does Bautista, a student who did something juvenile yet serious, gets charged, cuffed, goes before a judge, has a $20,000 bond, confined to home with a GPS monitor, local media scrutiny, and now has a felony record for the rest of his days, but yet two teachers who should have known better were never charged, cuffed, appeared in court despite unduly influencing the school grade and caused, or attempted to cause, an erroneous $250,000 payout of state and federal incentive funds?

Fleurantin and Muchnick engaged in far more serious crimes than Bautista: multiple potential counts of using a computer to commit and perpetrate a fraud, wire fraud, defrauding (or attempting to defraud) an out of state corporation (Certiport, the test vendor), and defrauding (or attempting to defraud) the State of Florida and the federal government and the taxpayers thereof.

Perhaps Fleurantin and Muchnick got off easy because they were doing what they were told and/or their actions benefited the school district and school/district administrators across the board in terms of recognition, promotion, and pay, and Bautista gets the heavy hand of justice because his actions only benefited himself and not M-DCPS whatsoever.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of the Miami-Dade Sheriff’s office.

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