Archive for augusti 2016
CoderDojo Foundation does not allow mentors to link to critique of the Quran in a private discussion
CoderDojo Foundation does not allow mentors to link to critique of the Quran in a private discussion with a friend on Facebook that has nothing to do with CoderDojo. If you do, you’re not allowed to be a mentor and are not allowed to start a new CoderDojo. I will update this over the years to come with more information when I’ve more time. As it stands now the reader might think that CoderDojo is right and the mentor is wrong, but I have not posted all my arguments publicly yet, but CoderDojo knows them. My comments are in square brackets. The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.
On the 31st of May the Coderdojo Foundation received a complaint from an attendee stating that one of the meteors at CoderDojo Lund was publically posting racist and exclusionary content in their private time and that they are not suitable to be around children. Please see the message received below:
Subject: Unfit mentor in Lund, Sweden
I am writing to you with concern regarding on of the mentors in Lund, Sweden. He is a publicly vocal islamofob who not only engages in hate speech but is wittingly and willingly spreading racism in public forums and on his blog. I would direct you to – amongst others – the following blogpost:
Please read it using google translate, and then take appropriate action. This man should not be around children, nor should he be associated with the good name of CoderDojo.
Immediately this was followed up with by Rosa Langhammer of the CoderDojo Foundation, message follows:
We are following this up immediately with the Champion of the Lund Dojo. Had you previously made other mentors or the Champion aware of this?
In addition if you have the mentors name or any additional detail specifically regarding the Dojo that would be really useful for us.
Pete O’Shea of the CoderDojo Foundation contacted Robert Storland, the registered champion of CoderDojo Lund and a call was arranged on the evening of the next day the 1st of July.
Pete here from the CoderDojo Foundation. We recently received a complaint about one of the mentors at the Lund Dojo. I wanted to contact you about this to see if you had had heard any feed back from the parents that attend the Dojo.
It would be great to discuss this over the phone if possible. Is there a time that suits you and I can setup a call with myself and Rosa.
Sorry to hear that there have been complaints. I have not received or heard of any negative feedback regarding mentors. Indeed, we have only been getting positive feedback from parents (IRL) or via our Facebook page.
I see this as a serious issue but I’m convinced every problem has a solution so feel free to call me at +46 706 18 72 96, or IM me on Skype (robert.storlind).
Both Rosa and Pete of the Coderdojo Foundation joined the call to bring this to the attention of the registered champion of the Lund Dojo, Robert.
On this call Robert knew the Mentor that the complaint was about. Pete and Rosa covered the ideals and ethos of CoderDojo and why inclusion is at the core of what Dojo is. Robert was then to arrange a call between all parties and to include the mentor in question.
- Knows the mentor in question.
- States that the mentor has being doing quite well, he has had email exchanges around not wanting to involve or invite refugee teenagers into the Dojo.
- Stated the CoderDojo values, that it is free and open to all.
- Does the same not apply for mentors? And as a result can he not say what he want with his freedom of speech?
- Includes that the mentor may see himself as an outsider.
- Also the mentor has had previous engagement and issues with another youth focused organisation. This organisation has had a discussion with the mentor as a result.
- Main query ii that this inclusive ethos should apply to mentors also regardless.
- Discussed that inclusion is key:
- If a Dojo is exclusive in any way, it is against the ethos.
- Shared info on the recruiting process for CoderDojo to give some more insight to vetting volunteers.
- For those that have the best intention but are not a fit.
- It’s OK to say no to volunteers
- Recommended to talk to the mentor
- For those that have the best intention but are not a fit.
- Discussed that inclusion is key:
- Robert: is to give another chance to the mentor.
- He has done a great job in the Dojo
- Rosa: we have to bring this up with the parent too.
- Advise to have a serious discussion with the mentor.
- We are happy to join the call
- You need to ask him if he is comfortable to continue to mentor as CoderDojo may not be a fit for him either
- Robert: If we bring this up, in the Dojo context, he can say whatever he likes.
- Rosa: not really if it is exclusive and against the CoderDojo ethos.
- Had a heated discussion in the mentor group
- About the values initially and this could have been communicated better.
- Rosa: update on the e-learning module and how this will address any communication issues.
- Pete: The next step is to arrange a call with the mentor to discuss. Offered for the Coderdojo Foundation to join Robert on the call for support as needed. Robert welcomed the support.
Action: Robert to arrange a call with the mentor in question and Pete and Rosa to join.
The next call was arranged for the 5th of July. On this call Pete and Rosa from the Foundation and Robert and M. from Coderdojo Lund took part to address the initial complaint. Details below:
- The complaints process discussion:
- Robert: Have you contacted the Dojo
- Rosa: update to the complaint.
- M.: agree on full inclusion and is for UN and human rights
- Rosa: Lay down ground rules for coderdojo
- Discussed the charter
- Be cool
- Discussed a juvenile record
- With mentors you can background track but not with young people, ensure there is a behavioural code (Be Cool) in the Dojo to remain a safe space
- Robert: decided not to do background checks
- Rosa: that is best practice
- Know that you can say no to mentors that have not good background checks
- Rosa: that is best practice
- M.: linked to the blog in a conversation
- Context was a discussion of “religion”.
- Had another friend that was aggressive and commenting on facebook and may have submitted the complaint.
- Rosa: Complaint has to be followed up as it was reported. We are continuing to follow up with the person who made the complaint to ensure it was in good faith.
- If a mentor or Dojo is not being inclusive we must take action and follow-up.
- Rosa: discussed recruitment process and updated the finer points including references, volunteer experience etc. Ensure that there is a safe recruitment process at the Dojo.
- We do not complaints likely, and we will write up a report.
- Robert: the majority of the mentors have referred eachother.
- Pete: suggested to then to go to the local station for background checks.
- Rosa: We can check your for *to robert
- Rosa: updated on the inclusion policy. And discussed the Be cool rule and how that works. Ensures that everyone that is 18 and under can attend a Dojo, whether it’s their religion, culture, age etc.
- Important to reach out to different races and minority community
- Rosa: Conclude that the Dojo is fully inclusive to all, would that be correct?
- Robert: Yes.
- M.: Yes, I have invited kids to the Dojo.
- Update on the complaints process and offered our support.
Actions: Pete follow up in Aug, date set for follow up on Aug 22nd.
Mentor did not write the blog post initially shared in the original message. However they did link to and share this blog on their personal facebook page and had a discussion about it.
[No, I did not share it on my personal Facebook page, I only linked to it in a comment in a private discussion with my friend and some of his friends.]
Robert, clarified that the Lund Dojo runs in a fully open and inclusive manner and is therefore not in breach of the CoderDojo charter. As long as the Dojo continues to embody the CoderDojo Ethos this is ok and if there are any more compliants we will follow up. Pete to do a general check in in August when the Dojo starts back again.
Robert Storlind wrote:
Hi M., (CoderDojo Foundation and CoderDojo Lund board members on CC)
Please find a timeline of events recorded which lead to the decision that you should not return to the Dojo as a mentor.
Find the formal CoderDojo Foundation complaint report attached. For ease of communication with CoderDojo Foundation, I have chosen to write this email in English.
CoderDojo Lund receives two bad references from a similar youth organisation and an additional organisation. These references would suggest Mr B. should not be taken on as a volunteer but the organisers of Lund want to give Mr B. a chance to mentor at the Dojo so Mr B. begins at the Dojo.
[Which are these two organizations and what did they write? I think one organization was Mattecentrum, but the other I have no idea of what it could be except possibly Kodcentrum. I have never been a mentor in Kodcentrum so they could not be a reference. I became a member in Kodcentrum only this year (2016), and have never been a member before, and I’m still a member. Mattecentrum and Kodcentrum have the same founder, and staff to some degree. I think it’s not a fair trial of me if I’m not allowed to know which organizations gave bad references and what they wrote.
About Mattecentrum, see http://mattecentrum.orbin.se/ as there is all the correspondence. As you can see, it has nothing to do my mentoring that I was banned and excluded for life, but that I wanted to check a contract before signing it. I was active in Mattecentrum as a mentor every school-week for 3 years (2 h each time), and sometimes twice a week. I only helped all students that wanted help. I might have unknowingly helped asylum seekers because I did help one Mongolian and one African kid that didn’t speak a word Swedish, and the Mongolian kid had a Mongolian math book, and the African kid had some test. At Mattecentrum in Lund during my time anyone was welcome, and there was no need to book a place because anyone who showed up was welcome, but this was before IS terror was common.
(I would recommend a reading of the above document.)]
8 April 2015
CoderDojo Lund receives a DM on Facebook from Kodcentrum about mr B.’s tweets disparaging Kodcentrum and recommending CoderDojo instead. Dojo does not address this as it is the first time anything like this has occurred.
[All tweets are here: https://twitter.com/search?q=mobluse%20coderdojo&src=typd ]
Mr B. is aggressive via email regarding the invitation and active promotion of the Dojo to local refugee teenagers. The CoderDojo Ethos and Charter is communicated to Mr B. and all mentors to make it eminently clear that inviting youth regardless of background, ethnicity or citizenship is fully in line with this. There is some disagreement about this ethos from Mr B.
[This is not true and we were not talking about refugees or teenagers below 18. I will post the discussion when I have more time.]
Late June 2016
Complaint is received by the CoderDojo Foundation concerning the inclusiveness of a volunteer at CoderDojo Lund and CoderDojo Lund Champion, Robert is contacted by the CoderDojo Foundation 1 July. It is Robert’s understanding that this may be in connection with Mr B.
Mr B. and Robert have a first phone call one-on-one 3 July and Mr B. shows low engagement.
[He called me 22:14 on a Sunday 3 July! and I have to wake up 6:30 the following Monday. Still, the call lasted for 28 min 18 s. I informed him directly I had to go to bed. The reason it took so long time was that R.S. wanted to book a personal meeting, and I was busy during those days, but when that was booked he cancelled it. I think this was just a test. So it was just a waste of time, i.e. uncool behavior which is not allowed in a CoderDojo context. He called me again 18:45 on Monday 4 July for 33 min 22 s.]
Robert lets Mr B. that even though this might be a frivolous complaint, it must be handled professionally by both champion and mentor, as required by CoderDojo policy. Mr B. is informed of the previous complaints. On this first call Mr B., implicitly acknowledges that he is the owner of the blog that had arisen in the complaint.
[But not of the blog post.]
When on the 5 July call with the CoderDojo Foundation and Robert, Mr B. is unclear and disputes that he wrote an article raised in the complaint but had admitted to sharing the article. On the call the importance of inclusivity and the CoderDojo ethos was stressed.
[No, I didn’t write the article and only linked to it in the private discussion with a friend on Facebook. The call lasted 28 min 50 s + 4 min 42 s, because it was disconnected.]
On a second call with Robert (5 or 6 July), Mr B. is still being vague on writing the blogpost and is un-cooperative. Mr B. accuses the Champion of violating a specific law (which is not applicable in this instance) as he had googled Mr B. to try and find the truth about the owner of the blog.
[There was no call on 5 or 6 July or after the phone meeting according to my memory and my phone logs. I don’t understand what he means by un-cooperative. Maybe he means that I do not reveal the identity of the author. This law was mentioned in a mail and I said it didn’t apply in the mail, but it would for a government organization, which CodeDojo aspires to emulate.]
Also in the second call, Mr B. is again informed of the previous complaints and that he had been given a fair chance but it would not be appropriate for him to continue to volunteer. Mr B. states he might take a voluntary timeout. He is informed that his equipment will be returned and is also offered a spare Raspberry Pi which is declined.
[Part of this is untrue, and that which is true was in the call on Monday July 4. I was never informed I should not continue as mentor until August 11, when I got a mail about that my router had been sent, which I was surprised by, and asked why. In this call on July 4 I only respected the fact that it was Robert Storlind who was the champion of the dojo, and if he does not want me there I can of course not come, but this we agreed would depend on CoderDojo Foundation. I also think a CoderDojo that locks out mentors for no good reason should not be allowed to keep the CoderDojo trademark. Robert Storlind should be able to do what he does, if he can follow the laws for youth organizations, but he should not be allowed to use the CoderDojo trademark. He offered to send back the router but I declined since it’s needed it in order to connect the Pi:s to Internet (it uses Tomato and shares Internet from WiFi via ethernet cables). I was a bit upset by him wanting to give away Dojo-property as the Pi:s to me for no reason. Robert does not mention that this discussion was about the planned phone meeting with CoderDojo Foundation, and that it was their decision we would await. After that call it seemed obvious that I should continue.]
Based on previous consultation with other mentors in the Dojo, Robert as the champion decides to not invite Mr B. back to volunteer due taking into consideration the references from other organisations and the incidents of untrustworthy, disruptive, and un-cooperative behaviour while he had been a volunteer at the Dojo.
[I was not informed about this decision until August 11, and had no plans on quitting. The base for the decision is false and it contradicts his earlier statements: He has done a great job in the Dojo. He says I’m untrustworthy because I don’t want to reveal the author of a blog I linked to. I have no idea what he refers to when he calls me disruptive, because I’m always calm, e.g. at the same time he said I was disruptive I got an A in my course in Health Pedagogy. He says I’m uncooperative for the same reason that he says I’m untrustworthy.]
After the champion’s vacation, the router is returned, having heard nothing more from mr B.
[I did write a message in the CoderDojo’s Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/coderdojo-lund . I got a mail about him sending the router and it was when I asked about this that I was informed about the decision. I will include these mails.]
Robert Storlind, CoderDojo Lund champion
Lund, 18 August 2016
Inclusivity is a core principle of the CoderDojo movement, this principle applies to not only the attendees of a Dojo, but also its volunteers. You can read the CoderDojo charter here. Any complaints received about a Dojo or its mentors not embodying this core principle are investigated in full by the CoderDojo Foundation.
An initial complaint was received about the behaviour of a mentor in CoderDojo Lund on the 31st of May 2015. This was investigated in full, following our procedures.
[The complaint was not about the behavior, but about a blog I had linked to in a private discussion on Facebook about political Islam.]
As the Champion of the Dojo, it is Roberts responsibility to address the concerns he may have in the running of the Lund Dojo. It is also his responsibility to make necessary decisions, using his best judgement, while following the CoderDojo ethos to run the Dojo. We believe it would unsustainable for a Dojo to create a safe environment for young people if there are issues between the Champion and the Dojo volunteers. As all Dojos are independently run and align with the CoderDojo ethos, how they decide to manage their community of volunteers is for them to decide.
In this situation, we have had several conversations with Robert, who at has at all times been open and communicative with us, seeking to find the best solution to resolve the situation.
[He has lied about many things.]
His decision to ask you to no longer mentor at the Dojo was reached after much consideration, and guidance from other mentors at the Dojo. Based on the discussions to date, the information provided by both you and Robert, we do not believe that the Lund Dojo is being discriminatory against you in requesting that you no longer mentor at CoderDojo Lund. Robert has sought to find an amicable solution, but as this has not been reached, we stand by his decision in requesting that you no longer mentor. As a result we will not request for Coderdojo Lund to cease using the CoderDojo trademark.
CoderDojo was founded on the understanding that mentors gift their time for the benefit of the young attendees. Without passionate volunteers CoderDojo would cease to exist. We thank you for all the time you have given to CoderDojo Lund to date and wish you the best of luck with your educational and volunteering endeavors in the future.
We would be happy to discuss this further with both parties if there are any outstanding questions to address.
The CoderDojo Foundation team.