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Democrat Photo by Nathan Mayberg

STEPHANIE JACKSON, OF Monticello, above, has had issues with embattled Middle School Assistant Principal Alfred Heins Jr.

Board of Education Draws Fire On Monticello E-mail Scandal

By Nathan Mayberg
WHITE LAKE – October 27, 2006 — After about two hours of a meeting by the Monticello Board of Education at the Duggan School in White Lake, it appeared the evening would end without a mention of the scandal involving longtime Middle School Assistant Principal Alfred Heins and three secretaries.
It took a high school student, in the middle of having her student government attendance sheet signed, to pop the question.
Superintendent Patrick Michel, who was officially sworn in that evening, responded. Creating a conversation with the audience, he said he expects the search of their computers to be completed by the end of the week.
That gave some in the audience a chance to speak up about their concerns with the district regarding race.
The emails involving Heins and the secretaries, were allegedly racist, sexually explicit and even pornographic.
Sullivan County NAACP President Elaine Williams questioned how many students at the Middle School had been negatively affected by the possible prejudice of Heins. How many were unnecessarily suspended? How many minorities were turned down from positions, she asked.
“I’m hurt. I want to throw up. I’m really concerned that we have this poison in our system.” She was also upset they continue to be paid. “These people need to leave this school.”
Stephanie Jackson had an even more personal reaction to the news about Heins. Her African-American son was kicked out of school by Heins. She has been trying to resolve the issue with the school now for three years. Her daughter was jumped and had hundreds of dollars of jewelry taken off her. She has not received any satisfaction from the district.
Michel welcomed anybody with questions or issues, including Jackson, to meet with him at his office.
Williams said she commended Michel for bringing the matter out into the public. Another local community leader, Jesse York, said he had faith that Michel would handle this correctly.
But York said he wasn’t surprised at the revelations. He pointed out the low percentage of minority teachers and administrators in the school. If more minorities worked there, this might have not happened, he speculated.
York also acknowledged the problems in the district being created by some of its African-American youth. He said a football program was needed to help replace the negative energy they have.
Michel told the crowd that he would be fair with those accused. Some may even be exonerated. They have due process rights which must be respected, he added. “We want to be sure.”
Board President Alyce Van Etten told those who spoke, “You are not speaking on deaf ears.” She voiced her support for the way the administration was handling the matter. “We take this very seriously,” she stated.

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