A former Albion second-grade teacher is calling for the Albion School Board to dismiss Harrington Elementary Principal Craig Wilson after he used profanity several times when referring to her in a speech at a retirement luncheon.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Kate Hayes said Wilson publicly humiliated her at a June 11 luncheon in front of colleagues and friends when he referred to her as a b—-.
She said she “cannot erase this blatant attack upon me by someone who is supposed to be considered the main leader at Harrington School.”
“I’m constantly on my children about using inappropriate words, so why would you use those words to any staff member, especially at a public event of that nature?” Hayes said after the meeting. “I could hear him saying (something like), ‘When this lady came here she gave me a hard time about whatever,’ and joking around about how now we’ve gotten to know each other much better. But to use those words, that is highly inappropriate.”
Hayes said Wilson did not contact her directly, but the principal did make a public statement Tuesday.
“To the board, to the citizens and to Mrs. Hayes, it is with strong, deep remorse and regrets that I left that impression in Mrs. Hayes mind,” he said.
Without giving context, Wilson said he did not “call (her) that word directly” but in retrospect he would have used different words to share his appreciation for Hayes.
“I would have chosen different words and a different way of saying how much of a friend you have been to me the last three years and how much I have relied upon you for your expertise, for your experience and your judgment for all of these years,” he said. “She has been the lighthouse, a beacon for our school and I absolutely meant no harm in what I said.”
Hayes, 55, who taught in the district for 34 years, said she believes Wilson should be removed from his position because he needs more training to learn how to deal with situations that arise at school and how to properly address staff members.
Hayes said she chose to speak at Tuesday’s meeting so the school board and the community could resolve the matter as they saw fit.
Superintendent Frederick Clarke assured the board and audience that the administration will address it.
“The first I had heard of it was (Tuesday) so the administration will investigate it, and if we need board involvement in it we will do so,” he said.
Board member John Helmbreck implored Clarke and the board to do as much as possible to get to the bottom of something that could further divide the community.
“I’d like to have a review of Mr. Wilson’s behavior with us. Is this part of a pattern? I really want some answers,” he said. “Our perception in the public in Albion, the way people perceive us — it’s really important. And I want to know if we’ve got to do something about this.