Suburban High School Dean Suspended

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. (STMW) — The Rich Central High School dean who sparked controversy when she held a party where a photo of a former principal was burned in effigy was suspended and given a warning letter by Rich Township High School District 227 officials, the SouthtownStar learned Monday.

Meanwhile, the former principal, Maceo Rainey, threatened Monday to sue the district and the dean because of his reassignment.

District 227 board member David Morgan confirmed that the dean, Helga Spoolstra, was suspended without pay from Dec. 1 to 3 for taking a picture of Rainey from the school and placing it in her home in St. John, Ind., and for not coming forward with information about the June 17 incident until Nov. 8, when she was interviewed by attorneys for the school district.

The photograph of Rainey, who had been reassigned to the district’s alternative education evening school program less than a week earlier, was tossed into an outdoor fire pit at the party.

Rainey filed a complaint with the St. John Police Department. Police determined no hate crime had been committed and closed the case, but there were charges of racism and a small group of protesters picketed at the high school.

The district conducted its own investigation, and in addition to suspending Spoolstra, sent her a letter admonishing her for her actions and warning her that “additional incidents of misconduct” could result in termination.

“I don’t know why you’re making a big deal out of this,” Spoolstra told a reporter Monday, declining further comment.

Claiming there were certain “unanswered questions” about the incident, Rainey said Monday he was dissatisfied with the district’s investigation and that it should have been conducted by an outside agency.

“The board’s attorneys are paid by the board and have an interest to protect the board,” Rainey said, adding he is considering filing lawsuits against Spoolstra and the district because of his ouster as Rich Central principal.

“I was told by former Supt. Howard Hunigan that I was removed because a few teachers did not support me, Spoolstra being one of them,” he said.

— SouthtownStar, via the Sun-Times Media Wire

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Laura

    This is incredibly unclear. Was one person white, the other black? If someone does not do his or her job properly, the race card comes a-callin’.

  • Ed

    I graduated from Rich Central in 2003, and Mrs. Spoelstra was my Dean at the time. She is white and this former principal is black. So because of that it has to be racist because she burned a picture. If he was not doing his job right then he should have been removed like you said.

  • Rae.

    Rainey Was Black Spoolstra Was White. I Go There Now, And Its Not A Hate Crime. He Was An Ok. Principal && She Is Just A Bad Dean. Its All Being Blown Out Of Proportion, And Those Protesters Are Getting On My Nerves Standing Out There Everyday. Sometimes They Even Get Violent Throwing Paper And Stuff. This All Needs Too Stop Immediately Yes She Shouldn’t Have Burned The Picture But Oh Well. It Needs Too Stop && SOON !

    Current R.C. Student. (Unfortunately)

  • Pete

    This is a lie–no protester has ever become violent and nothing is being thrown. This is absolutely ridiculous. As far as getting on the student’s nerves, maybe so, but then you should go inside the school, talk to the administrators, or tell your parents to call the superintendent’s office and ask her to talk with the protesters. Just ignoring them and hoping enough lies will be told that the community will turn against them isn’t the solution. Good luck in school.

  • Pete

    By the way, did you students know that Ms. Spoolstra has taken kids to court before, bringing criminal charges against them? Shouldn’t the district be bringing charges if necessary? She goes way overboard with the discipline and obviously many other things. She’s out of control, and you’re right, she’s a bad dean. You guys need to be protesting too. You have the right to speak out, don’t let anyone make you think that voicing your opinion is a bad thing. What do you think of the current principal? Is she better than Rainey? If not, why is she there? You have to ask the questions–you sound like a smart student–don’t be afraid to ask.

  • Jean

    Why would Spoolstra accept a position in a primarily black school district if she is a huge racist?? Lets use logic people, I know it’s hard, but I believe in you. Why is there no mention of the fact that Rainey is under current reviews for defamation, sexual harassment, and of course the previous case of him beating his wife. All of these issues have grounded evidence as opposed to the issue with Spoolstra, which was dropped. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., who’s day is rapidly approaching, lets look at facts, not color.

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