School officer faces probe after backing Ackerman while on disability

Pamela Williams, activist. (CLEM MURRAY / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Pamela Williams, activist. (CLEM MURRAY / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER) (Pamela Williams)
Posted: July 28, 2011

WHEN SCHOOL POLICE officer and activist Pamela Williams took to the streets to defend Superintendent Arlene Ackerman against scathing rumors, little did she know that her efforts would come back to bite her.

District officials have launched an investigation into Williams, who staged two recent pro-Ackerman rallies even though she's been out on disability since January, a district source said.

Williams, who's served in the district for five years, took part in a rally inside district headquarters on Friday to protest rumors that there's a plan afoot by Mayor Nutter, School Reform Commission Chairman Robert Archie and others to have Ackerman removed.

Williams took her fight down Broad Street on Tuesday, joining a group of nearly 40 chanting outside City Hall.

Williams, who is also the chairwoman of the School Advisory Council at Daroff Elementary in West Philadelphia, said no one from the district had contacted her.

"Don't deflect from the real issue," she said. "My activism has nothing to do with [my injury]. . . . If they want to make me an issue, that's sad."

A district official with knowledge of the probe said officials plan to pull video that shows Williams at the rally inside district headquarters. Information will be turned over to the company that manages the district's workers' compensation claims.

Williams served as an officer at Daroff before going on disability Jan. 14, after a reported assault by a student.

A district spokeswoman said she wouldn't comment on personnel matters.

"I want to be in school," Williams said. "I give this school district 100, 200, 300 percent. They can come on with it. The doctor said I can't work the same way until my shoulder heals."

She said the real issue is that a disproportionate number of students in the city aren't proficient in reading and math.

"They don't live in my neighborhood," she said of district officials and politicians. "They don't see the kids walking down the street high. These kids are suffering."

Williams said she supports Ackerman's efforts to help parents and students who struggle. She listed several of Ackerman's initiatives, including Parent University and Promise Academies, which give more resources to struggling schools.

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