Skip to comments.Father fumes over principal's 'liar' comment
Posted on 09/01/2009 5:54:39 PM PDT by Brandonmark
School calls account untrue ROTC student feels wronged
SPRING HILL - It's getting personal for Heather Lawrence and her father.
"Now they're calling my daughter a liar," Mark Lawrence said today.
Heather returns to Springstead High School on Wednesday after a three-day suspension for telling a Muslim classmate to "take that thing off your head and act like you're proud to be an American."
She said the student, whom she previously had never met, remained seated during the Pledge of Allegiance last Tuesday morning during homeroom.
A few days later, an assistant principal sent her home and issued a five-day suspension. It was later lowered to three.
The initial punishment drew the ire of her father, who called local media outlets to complain.
Since then, at least one local media report quoted Principal Susan Duval as saying Heather had lied about the incident.
Assistant Superintendent Sonya Jackson was more diplomatic, but sided with Duval. She recently told Hernando Today that based on conversations she had with school officials, the "information shared by Ms. Lawrence was untrue."
The school is saying the Muslim student did stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and that Heather was not outside of her classroom.
She said she was asked by her homeroom teacher to deliver the roll call report to the office. She was walking down the hall when she noticed the student was seated while everyone else was standing and reciting.
The following day, in between classes, she confronted the student. Another teacher overheard her comments and reported them to two of her colleagues. The news eventually reached Assistant Principal Steve Crognale, who issued the suspension.
He claimed Heather threatened her and caused "mental duress."
Now Lawrence wishes he could get his daughter "out of this horrible school system."
He said he would like to send her to a military school, but it costs too much.
"I'm very, very upset about this," he said. "They are (attacking) her integrity and credibility."
He also called the first part of her statement, "Take that thing off your head," an inappropriate statement one that his daughter regrets and has apologized for during an interview with a television reporter.
"It's very regretful how the school is handling this," Lawrence said. "They're portraying my daughter as a racist villain."
Jim Knight, director of student services at the school district, said Springstead administrators could have issued a 10-day suspension. They decided to stay in the middle of the guidelines, with the hope the school and parents could come to an understanding and reduce the suspension to three days. Eventually, they did.
That is another source of frustration for Lawrence. The school threatened to keep the punishment at five days because he wouldn't sign the written agreement. The school said earlier this week it lowered the suspension after he agreed to sign.
"I never signed anything," he said.
Duval has refused to return numerous messages left by Hernando Today.
There also have been reports the Muslim student, who has not been identified, has been hurt by the recent news accounts. Lawrence also addressed that.
"That's upsetting to us," he said. "It's not about the girl. It's never been about the girl. It's about the school and how it handled it."
Efforts to contact the student have been unsuccessful.
For her part, Heather said she is "infuriated" and "enraged" over the statements the school has made about the incident.
She hopes she and her parents find a way for her to enroll at another school. She said she is "frightened" about the prospect the school might retaliate again in the future.
"I don't know what kind of actions they'll be taking when I return to school," Heather said.
Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or email@example.com.
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It was a lot simpler when I was in school. We just beat each other up back then.
The British model of acquiescing to islamofascism comes to the USA.
Public school officials lie? Never on God’s green earth.... / s
Homeschool the girl.
I agree with her. Acceptance of people showing disrespect to the US is far too widespread.
Protected species. Some animals are more equal than others.
He said he couldn’t afford a military school.
Had he not said that, it would have been my first choice.
Can they get scholarships?
Like I said, The dad said he tried to send her to one but couldn’t afford it.
Maybe you could add that into the comments on the actual article.
I bet the dad would be grateful. Perhaps he doesn’t know where to turn.
Here it is
I substitute taught today. Started with a prayer and the Pledge. When it rained two of my students sprinted to bring down the flag without being told. At the end of the day we prayed again.
Private school is a wonderful thing.
My girls would be in school if we had vouchers.