Saturday, January 06, 2007

Weast vows to punish Churchill principal

Superintendent Jerry Weast won't criticize white School Board member Steve Abrams for assaulting an African-American politician and taunting him with racial slurs - but he vows to punish Churchill principal Joan Benz for lamenting "black on black violence" in her school.

Weast has been silent on the November 13 incident in which Abrams, one of Weast's only open supporters on the Board of Education, assailed Adol T. Owen-Williams, whom Abrams had pressured to quit running for the County Council so he could be the candidate instead.

But the superintendent was quick to stomp on Dr. Benz for publicly lamenting in a letter to Churchill parents that kids involved in school violence happened to be black.

"School Superintendent Jerry D. Weast 'is very upset that this letter was sent and that these racial comments were made,' said Brian Edwards, spokesman for the school system. He stressed that Benz's letter was not reviewed or approved by senior staff, which is standard operating procedure. Benz said that she attempted to send it to a supervisor but that it was not reviewed in time. Edwards said the supervisor did not receive the letter until 3:30 p.m., well after the school's dismissal," the Washington Post reports.

"A source close to the superintendent, who asked not to be quoted by name because he was discussing a personnel issue, said of Benz: 'She'll be disciplined.'"

And what of kids who commit criminal violence in public schools? Weast's spokesman had no comment.