By Carolyn Roy, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Natchitoches Parish School Board took no punitive action towards Supt. Dale Skinner following an executive session Tuesday to discuss a grievance filed by Natchitoches Central teacher Marvin Blake. There was a motion to accept the recommendation that the board take no action and give assurance that there would be no retaliation toward Blake for filing the grievance. Board member Emile Metoyer offered an amendment to the motion that Skinner be suspended for one month without pay. That motion failed by a vote of 6-5.
Voting in favor of the suspension without pay were board members Katrina Willis, Harry Graham, Emile Metoyer and Ralph Wilson. Voting against the suspension were Eugene Garner, Carol Daniels, Russ Danzy, Mike Hilton, Rhonda Guidroz and Tommy Melder. Metoyer and Harris were the only two to vote against the original motion.
Blake, a civics teacher at Natchitoches Central and board employee for 25 years, said after the meeting he was disappointed with the board’s action. “I just wanted him to be held accountable and today he wasn’t.” Blake said the incident that prompted the grievance occurred April 17 after his first class when Principal William Gordy called him to the office for a meeting with Skinner. Blake said Skinner tried to bully and intimidate him as he questioned him about the content of a flyer mailed out by the Natchitoches Voters and Civic League opposing the April 28 school board tax election.
The flyer was critical of Skinner and stated the League voted unanimously to oppose the tax because of Skinner’s “ unacceptable attitude.” Blake is a member of the League. Blake said that in a Natchitoches Times news article in May, he believed Skinner made it sound like Blake had told on John Winston for writing the flyer although Winston signed the flyer as president of the League. “That offended me. He went around campus saying Marvin Blake was against children. He had no business to do that. He was wrong.” In other business at the special called meeting, the board adopted the millage rates for the bond issue passed April 28.
The board voted to pay a stipend of $2,000 to Renee C. Lewis, a school nurse who teaches a Certified Nurse Assistant class. Lewis will also receive a $2,000 stipend for the last school year.