City schools chief seeks to fire suspended principal

September 13, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Baltimore schools chief Bonnie S. Copeland is seeking support from the school board to fire suspended Walbrook High Uniform Services Academy principal and former mayoral candidate Andrey Bundley, his attorney said yesterday.

The lawyer, Warren A. Brown, said he received a faxed copy of a letter to Bundley from Copeland on Friday outlining the termination request.

"The superintendent has asked that he be terminated," Brown said. But, he said, "It's not something that has not been expected."

The school system placed Bundley on paid leave in late July and has been investigating whether some Walbrook seniors graduated in June without meeting academic requirements. Other students also were allegedly promoted even though they were missing required classes.

At a news conference nearly two weeks ago, Bundley said most of the issues over student records at Walbrook had been resolved. He accused the school system of dragging out the process in an attempt to defame him and asked Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to intervene.

At the time, Bundley said he was going to file a grievance against the school system.

Neither Bundley nor Copeland could be reached for comment last night.

Brown said his client has yet to receive Copeland's letter, but that once he does he will have 10 days to respond to it.

"The man was well-intentioned," Brown said of Bundley, who ran against Mayor Martin O'Malley in last September's Democratic primary. "It's not like he molested a child."

Although the number of students whose promotions were deemed questionable has not been divulged, Brown said the figure "just keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller."

"It's going to be an embarrassment to the school system in the end," he said.

Bundley has portrayed himself as a political target since being suspended, but Brown softened that stance last night.

"He has positioned himself as a threat, not to the mayor's next bid for office, but it's just that you have a guy who has stood up for the dispossessed," Brown said. "You have a bull's-eye on you whenever you do that."

Brown said it could be months before the school board holds a hearing on the termination request, but that he has begun preparing Bundley's case.

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