Board members speak out for Amprey They back schools chief accused of battering wife

September 06, 1996|By Jean Thompson | Jean Thompson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore school board members showered praise on Schools Superintendent Walter G. Amprey last night during their first meeting of the academic year, making a point of showing support despite the domestic abuse allegations he faces.

The kind words came hours after Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke suggested that Amprey's tenure might be affected if he is found guilty of the battery charge lodged against him by his wife, Freda Jones Amprey.

Without mentioning the charge, city school board members one by one offered tributes to the superintendent.

"We are proud of your leadership," board member Kathleen Shapiro told Amprey last night.

The interim school board president, Arnita Hicks McArthur, praised the superintendent for pledging to keep his focus on the needs of city students amid the controversy.

At his weekly news briefing, the mayor said he would convene the school board to conduct "a careful review" if the courts determine that Amprey battered his wife Aug. 24 in their West Baltimore home, as she claims.

"Obviously a conviction for battery would have an impact on his leadership abilities," Schmoke said in his first public comments on the issue.

But reiterating his faith in Amprey, Schmoke said, "Nothing that's happened so far, I believe, impacts his ability to lead the school system."

Amprey has denied the allegations. He declined yesterday to comment on the mayor's statement. He has been ordered to appear in court Oct. 11 to answer the common-law charge of battery.

Pub Date: 9/06/96

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