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Faking the Grade: Former DCPS Chancellor Wilson and Mayor Bowser dispute resignation cause

ABC7

Former Chancellor Antwan Wilson is speaking out, claiming D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is wrong in her recollections of the controversy that lead to his resignation.

Bowser says she only found out then-chancellor Wilson transferred his daughter to Wilson High School in violation of policy when the DC Inspector General told her in February. She accepted Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles’ resignation and later, Wilson's resignation. Wilson tells a different story.

“I shared with the mayor that I was asked to step away outside of the process and have my wife work with Deputy Mayor Niles and that she would be calling her the next day. This was on a Thursday and my wife did follow up and called Deputy Mayor Niles on that following Friday. At the time, the mayor thanked me for sharing that, told me to keep her informed and that's what happened. This was in September,” said Wilson.

The mayor's chief of staff denies Wilson's memory and responded, “Antwan Wilson never told the mayor that he was going to break the DCPS discretionary placement policy for the benefit of his daughter. Neither does she have any recollection of Antwan saying his daughter was changing schools. Antwan certainly never asked to be exempted from the policy and the mayor would not have approved the transfer. It is disappointing that Antwan doesn't realize how hurtful his actions were to the entire system."

“My reaction is quite simple,” responded Wilson. “One, I did have that conversation with the mayor. Two, as it relates to breaking a policy. Let's be clear, the policy is about the chancellor making decisions about whether or not students move from one school to the other. How do I make a decision about my own daughter? Certainly, I didn't think that was appropriate. So what did I do? I went to my supervisor and I asked ‘what should I do?’ And then I went to the mayor of the city and explained that I did that.”

Wilson added, “If I wanted to break a rule, if I wanted to do the wrong thing, I didn’t have to ask anyone. Everyone I needed reported directly to me. There was no desire to break the rule. The desire was, what do you do to follow the rule when the whole thing reports to you? The idea that I crafted a rule? That was a mayor directive and we were told what we needed to do and what we needed to put in that policy and then it happened to be a situation where my daughter was in a very bad way and we needed help and I asked for help as to what to do. And that's it. I think the process needs to be better for all families.”

Councilmember David Grosso will hold an emergency meeting of the DC Council education committee. He plans to call Mayor Bowser to testify to answer: who knew what, and when?

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