DCPS chancellor speaks out on school transfer scandal: 'I made the wrong decision'

- D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson is speaking out for the first time after it was revealed last week that he violated city policy after his child was transferred to another school several weeks after the school year started.

This led to the resignation of Jennifer Niles, the deputy mayor for education for D.C. Public Schools, after the District’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability found that she and Wilson violated the mayor’s orders of prohibiting public officials from obtaining discretionary transfers.

Now, five D.C. council members have called on Wilson to resign.

FOX 5 asked Wilson if he would resign if Mayor Muriel Bowser asked him to step down from the position, but he would not answer the question directly. Instead, Wilson said he is committed to his job.

“My focus is on making sure that the District has the direction that it needs,” he said. “My focus is on doing the work to win back trust that I have broken for anyone in the District, the community, in making sure that DCPS is on the right path. And I am committed to doing that.”

When asked why he broke the policy that he helped write and sign, Wilson discussed his daughter’s struggles.

“My daughter was struggling socially and emotionally, engaging in behavior we had never seen before, certainly affecting her health.” said Wilson. “Not eating, not coming out of her room and expressing real anxiety around going to school. I want folks to understand that as a parent, I certainly had tunnel vision, and as a chancellor, my focus was really trying to make sure that my wife was able to get the help she needed to transfer our daughter and to do it in a way that we were trying to do it correctly. It’s clear we got it wrong.”

With the help of deputy mayor for education, Wilson was able to get his daughter moved to Woodrow Wilson High School from Dunbar High School. There are currently 706 students on the wait list to get into Wilson High School.

We asked Wilson why he did not keep her daughter at Dunbar, the school she was zoned for.

“What I would say to you is that I am someone who believes strongly that my daughter should have a say in her school and I have always trusted my wife,” he said. “I put a lot of time and energy into my work. I have a tremendous support system with my wife and I really wanted to know how to transfer my daughter and what options we had and that was it. What I can say to you in doing that, I did not make the best decisions here. I made the wrong decision in terms of how to go about it.”

Wilson plans to speak to the public and answer questions from D.C. school parents by holding a virtual town hall on Feb. 28.

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