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Posted by on December 18, 2012.

Buckhead: Ethics Commission to investigate North Atlanta High allegations

Atlanta School Board Chairman Reuben McDaniel. /File photo

The Atlanta Board of Education Ethics Commission has voted unanimously to investigate complaints that school board Chairman Reuben McDaniel improperly interfered with hiring decisions at North Atlanta High School.

The board made the decision at its Dec. 18 meeting.

Chairwoman Rebecca Pentz said the board will investigate complaints filed by David Durham concerning the hiring of his wife, Amy Durham. Durham’s hiring was delayed by the board this fall, and David and former North Atlanta principal Mark MyGrant believe allegations of racism against Amy Durham prompted Durham to withdraw her name.

“The investigation will be concluded within 60 days of the date of the complaint,” Pentz said via email. “The commission may request informal interviews and/or affidavits from relevant individuals. The interviews and review of the material are conducted in a confidential executive session.

“At the conclusion of the investigation, the commission will determine if good and sufficient cause exists that a violation of the ethics standards has been committed.  If five members of the Ethics Commission determine that there is good and sufficient cause, the commission will conduct an open formal hearing.”

MyGrant and David Durham also believe the allegations were the reason that APS officials on Oct. 5 removed the leadership team at the school and ordered MyGrant to leave campus, just days before his scheduled retirement.

Durham is part of a larger group of teachers and administrators accused of fostering racism at the school. Several top teachers were named by a group of anonymous parents in letter to Deputy Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Waldon dated Feb. 6. Durham was not named but was a part of the school’s College Zone, the school’s college and career center.

The Buckhead Reporter’s investigation revealed emails showing McDaniel and District 4 Board of Education Member Nancy Meister were involved in a behind-the-scenes dispute about allegations of institutional racism at North Atlanta in the weeks leading up to Oct. 5. In one of the emails sent Aug. 21, McDaniel asked for information about employees MyGrant planned to hire.

To read about the investigation, click here.

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