Concerns about principal reach McMillan

Legislator asks schools' chief for an investigation

November 19, 2003|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

State Del. Herbert H. McMillan has asked Anne Arundel County schools Superintendent Eric J. Smith to investigate complaints against the new principal of Annapolis High, who has been accused by some of creating a hostile school environment.

McMillan, an Anne Arundel County Republican, wrote to Smith last week that he has received a "startling" number of complaints from parents and students about Deborah Williams.

McMillan said in an interview that he is troubled by allegations from constituents that Williams encountered similar difficulties as a high school principal in Prince George's County several years ago.

"I'm not advocating that the superintendent do one thing or another," said McMillan, who has received about 20 complaints. "All I'm asking [is] that he investigate the allegations. ... Even if they're groundless, until they're resolved, her ability to lead is really hurt."

Williams declined to comment, saying she had not seen the letter and was not interested in it. "I'll let the politicians deal with what they have to deal with, and Dr. Smith do what he has to do," she said.

Smith said the letter will not prompt any investigation beyond what his staff already has done. In a written response to McMillan sent yesterday, the superintendent said his staff takes all complaints seriously and investigates them as they arise.

Smith also wrote that his staff has looked into the claims about Williams' previous job. In an interview yesterday, he said he was satisfied with the outcome of the inquiries.

"There's no overarching investigation," Smith said. "At this point, Deborah Williams is doing what I expected her to do."

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