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Charges Fly On Transfer Of Principal

Charges Fly On Transfer Of Principal image
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Public charges of "unlawful action and racism" were hurled Wednesday night at the Ann Arbor Board of Education pertaining to the board's recent transfer of Forsythe's black principal, Fred Leonard. Folio wing more than two hours of heated comments from both the board and members of the audience, a resolution from Trustee Henry Johnson to rescind'ihe involuntary reassignment of Leonard was postponed until next week for board action. Johnson said in his motion, "The board's decisión to transfer Leonard was taken without the recommendation of the superintendent and without a fair hearing." Johnson also told the board that its action was in violation of the North Central Accreditation Association's criteria for principal transfers and the schools may be in daïïger of being dropped from that group's membership. The meeting room had fi11ed to standing-room only as the board heard petitions and comments protesting the involuntary transfer. Representing Leonard as legal counsel, Ronald Egnor said: "In the event the board refuses to rescind its unlawful actions, we insist upon a statement of the reasons for the totally unprecedented action of the board and the involuntary transfer." "Knowing of no real or imagined valid basis for this action, Leonard insists upon an opportunity to have a full and fair hearing to respond to whatever rompted the action," Egnor told t' lboard. The audience, evenly divided be' black and white, was told to quie peveral times by Board Pres; i Heusel after a reaction of ]- rs and applause folio wed publir nts. At one point Heusel yp' . don't take any crap from you as he bounded his gavel aT ,t silence. plis remarks were ir A by some ps racial slurs an A Buntin told Heusel later that "ii dry untimely to a d d r e s s black pecóle as y o u people . . . it's the same thing as calling us fooy" Buntin, who was recently named heaü of the multi-ethnic curriculum program after his former position was abolished, j also said, "My transfer, just like that of Leonard's, was done without any consultation with me. Isn't it peculiar that three black administrators all came up for transfer simultaneously?" Harold Fillyaw, the other black administrator, was appointed director of reading staff development. Also speaking out against the transfer of Leonard "without due process" were Larry Stewart, president of the Ann Arbor Education Association; a representative from the Human Rights Party of Ann A r b o r; the Forsythe Teacher-Student Organization board; Albert Gallup of the Ann Arbor Principal Association; and James Slaughter, Human Relations Director for the city. There were only three persons who spoke in support of the board's decisión to remove Leonard. One such comment was from Terry Martin, a former school board candidate, who said: "The board's decisión illustrates its responsiveness to the public. The fact that one board member is trying to make this a racial issue is blatant emotionalism. This is a matter of performance of one individual and not one of racism." The board will vote next week on whether or not to rescind the transfer of Leonard but Trustee Robert Conn said last night that "the board does the hiring and firing with the superintendent as our agent in the transferring of administrators and that is my position as a trustee."