Resolution backing principal altered

Carter seeking support for pro-Williams measure

January 11, 2004|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

Annapolis Alderman Cynthia A. Carter has changed her resolution supporting Annapolis High School Principal Deborah Williams, removing specific references to Williams and referring more generally to education in an attempt to win support from fellow council members and residents.

Carter said she introduced the resolution, scheduled for a vote tomorrow night, because she wanted to support Williams' efforts to improve Annapolis High School, where black students score lower than white ones do. Williams, in her first year as the school's principal, has been criticized by parents and students as being too strict.

The resolution is symbolic, and Annapolis does not have the power to hire or fire Williams, an Anne Arundel County school system employee.

Carter's resolution has drawn fierce criticism from residents. Most members of the council said they were unwilling to support the measure because it addresses a personnel matter that they said should be handled in private.

Carter removed almost all references to Williams, and the resolution now states the council's support for "endeavors to achieve academic excellence for all students."

"I hope this helps it pass," she said.

Three other city council members - Mayor Ellen O. Moyer, Alderman George O. Kelley Jr. and Alderman Classie Gillis Hoyle - have co-sponsored the resolution.

Even though Carter removed Williams' name, black leaders say the resolution remains important to the black community, according to Carl O. Snowden, a former alderman who organized a group of nearly 100 people who attended a recent city council meeting in support of the resolution.

"This has struck a chord within the black community," Snowden said. City council members who vote against the resolution could see "the vote could come back to haunt" them, Snowden said.

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