Investigation of CRES principal cites inappropriate relationships, sexual innuendo, foul language and mismanagement

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

The Griffin-Spalding County School System investigation that resulted in the resignation Alecia McCray, principal of Cowan Road Elementary School, documented numerous concerns dating back to early 2017.

According to the investigation’s summary, there is a broad range of allegations including, but not limited to, fraudulent use of Title I funds, the use of inappropriate language in school, making sexually explicit statements to subordinate employees, falsification of records, unequal treatment based on race, unprofessional conduct, professional mismanagement, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, making inappropriate statements about Central Office and school staff members and special education procedural issues.

Those early 2017 concerns documented in the investigative summary – a 22-page document that describes multiple acts of wrongdoing allegedly committed by McCray – are among many, including some that officials describe as fraudulent.

One earlier conference was held Feb. 3, following an incident the day prior in which a kindergarten student exited the building without the knowledge of the teacher or administration. After an undetermined length of time, the student was safely located.

However, this incident was never reported to Central Office.

The summary states that in addition to discussing this incident, expectations of McCray were outlined including the use of appropriate language, maintaining professional relationships, responding to complaints and not allowing personal relationships to interfere her evaluations of job performances.

That conference was followed by McCray’s summative evaluation conference on March 13, during which McCray received an unsatisfactory performance evaluation for the 2016-2017 school year, including “needs development” ratings in such key standards as school climate, organizational management and human resources management.

Only ten days later, a meeting was held with McCray and Superintendent Jim Smith and Human Resources Director Stephanie Dobbins. This meeting following a recording that was inadvertently left on the voice mail of a Central Office employee.

The summary states that on March 10, McCray placed a call to GSCSS Parent and Community Engagement Coordinator Melinda Owens, who did not answer the call, which then went to voicemail.

“During the next six minutes and 35 seconds, Mrs. McCray’s office conversation was recorded on the voicemail after she apparently believed her phone to be hung up,” the report states.

Revealed were conversations between McCray and at least two other school staff members who “engaged in a discussion that included profanity, inappropriate subject matter about children’s circumstances in classrooms, confirmation of a classified employee’s permission by Mrs. McCray to continue working off-the-clock and inappropriate conversation about the nature of a district employee’s communication with Mrs. McCray.”

Cited as a few of numerous statements McCray allegedly made on that recording are:

“I don’t give a f*ck if he’s jumping over chairs.” (in reference to whether a first-grade child should take medication or not)

“F*ck em!” (in reference to a previous situation about a child who McCray stated “was almost out of Pre K”)

“I’m not putting (child) on medicine to make your life better. F*ck you!” (in reference to a previous situation about a child’s behavior in a classroom)

Also documented was a May 27, series of text message involving McCray and staff members.

McCray: “(Staff Member B), this is (Staff Member A)’s anniversary she is going to have to swallow and do anal (sic all)”

Staff Member A: “But I did get my batch of pasta salad”

Staff Member B: “Yeah, cuz that’s better than what Aleshia mentioned. Lol”

Following the cancellation of a meeting by the executive director of elementary education, another series of text messages involving McCray and three staff members was documented.

After explaining the meeting had been cancelled and the exchange of a few text messages, McCray reportedly stated, “bulls*it slashing his tires (sic)” (in reference to executive director of elementary education)

These were allegedly not isolated incidents, as another key issue of concern cited in the summary was the “multitude of profanity and sexual innuendo and drug and alcohol references.”

Staff interviews conducted by the executive director of Human Resources, the assistant director of Human Resources, the Deputy Superintendent and the Executive Director of Elementary Education allegedly elicited the following citations:

“I’ve heard McCray and (Staff Member A) use profanity. I’ve heard (Staff Member A) say something nice her husband did for her recently and Mrs. McCray said, ‘You might have to do something nice for him tonight.’”

“I’ve heard Mrs. McCray tell teachers to ‘Get them off the tit’ in the hallway in reference to students.”

“I’ve heard Mrs. McCray use all profane words including ‘bi*ch, f*ck, sh*t and as*. I’ve heard them all.”

“Other (staff members) told me, ‘You’ll learn to speak Aleshia.’”

“At the leadership team meeting on Sept. 29, I heard (Staff Member B) say that she was stressed. In response, Mrs. McCray said, ‘Why don’t you go to some strip clubs, but you know (Staff Member I) isn’t going.’”

“During a recent time that I stayed late to finish a project, my husband brought me a meal and Mrs. McCray said, ‘You need to take care of him tonight. You know what you need to do.’”

“I have seen Mrs. McCray raise her fingers up to her lips as if she is holding a marijuana cigarette, and then motion as if she is taking a puff when it comes up about her stress levels. I have reminded Mrs. McCray that she should not talk like that here. There are students.”

“Mrs. McCray told me, ‘If you need to lose weight, you should try some crack.’”

“In the media center after the September staff meeting, Mrs. McCray made a joke using the p-word (pu*sy).”

“I have heard Mrs. McCray make jokes about going to the bar to take shots.”

“There are other instances where I was informed by non-administrators about confidential student and personnel matters that they told me Mrs. McCray told them.”

“Profanity and sexual innuendo are regularly stated out loud by Mrs. McCray. I have heard her say, ‘She’ll have to swallow for that one,” in reference to a teacher having to do something they do not want to do or be disappointed. She regularly says f*ck and makes sexual comments in the presence of others, including the main office staff.”

“I have heard frequent cursing by the principal. I have heard McCray speak to clerical staff with ‘hatefulness’ in her tone of voice. The way she asks questions to clarify things kind of bothers me. It’s abrupt. I put myself in their shoes. I would feel like I was being treated like the dumbest person on earth and that person had no respect for me.”

Financial malfeasance is also alleged regarding McCray’s handling of Title I funds. Based on numerous examples cited in the investigative summary, McCray on multiple occasions stated Title I-approved training programs were taking place, when other programs were instead conducted.

One such example cited was dated June 12, and alleges McCray submitted and received approval of an agenda for English/Language Arts Title I training, but states during the investigation, five teachers confirmed that training did not take place, but rather PBIS training, which is not an acceptable use of Title I funds.

A second was documented June 14-15, when McCray allegedly submitted an agenda for Title I training and received approval for Project Based Learning, but officials say four staff members confirmed that a different, non-Title I two-day training took place.

Additional examples of alleged financial mismanagement, which the report confirmed could be considered fraudulent, were also documented.

“Due to the misuse and misrepresentation of funds for payment of stipends, the Griffin-Spalding County School System will pay $10,159.51 back to the Title I, Part A grand from its general fund for the corrective action,” the summary states.

When McCray was interviewed, she acknowledged many of the allegations made against her, but stated she had been working diligently to make improvements.

McCray has since resigned.

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Comments

  1. Steven w Stroup says:

    You would think that a someone in the education system could communicate without using profane language, and could control their vulgar sexual slandering of subordinates.

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