- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2017

A New Orleans charter school has parted ways with a principal who was seen sporting symbols frequently associated with white supremacy while attending a rally in support of the city’s Confederate monuments.

Nicholas Dean will not return as the principal or be associated with Crescent Leadership Academy,” Superintendent Tracey Bennett-Joseph said in a statement Thursday, WVUE-TV reported. “We will continue to work in the best interest of all students and cannot further comment on employment matters.”

Mr. Dean first came under fire after after a photograph was uploaded to Facebook on Sunday showing him wearing a helmet and brandishing a shield at the scene of a May 7 protest held amid a dispute involving a controversial statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in downtown New Orleans, the likes of which the city has since dismantled.

Mr. Dean was escorted off campus Monday and placed under review, WVUE reported, prompting the principal to publicly defend his appearance at Lee monument event.

“I didn’t go to protest for either side. I went because I am a historian, educator and New Orleans resident who wanted to observe this monumental event,” he said.

On Thursday, however, a video interview from the same event emerged on YouTube showing Mr. Dean wearing two rings sometimes associated with Nazism and white nationalism — a German Iron Cross and a skull ring — further drawing ire and fanning the flames of controversy.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune has since found audio of a recent podcast in which the principal uses an alias, Nick Andrews, to lambast “radical leftists” and label organizers of the effort to remove the Lee statue “a black supremacy movement.”

“So it’s probably fair to say, then, you’re not a white supremacist, or some crazy KKK member from the Confederate past?” the host asks at one point, the Times-Picayune reported.

“I am not by my definition, absolutely not. But by others’, most certainly,” Mr. Dean responded, according to the newspaper.

The nonprofit board that runs Crescent Leadership Academy, a predominately black charter school for troubled youths, issuing a statement severing ties with Mr. Dean later Thursday.

“While the circumstances surrounding this decision are regrettable and damaging, I appreciate the board making a swift decision so that the school can move forward and so that our community can continue to heal,” Kunjan Narechania, the superintendent of the state-run Recovery School District, said in a statement of her own.

“The children of New Orleans should be able to trust that educators value their humanity, respect them as individuals, and will treat them with a sense of fairness and equality,” she added. “Educators are role models, and they should prioritize this sacred role above all else. Any educator who is unwilling to prioritize and respect the humanity of all children has no place in schools.”

It was not immediately clear if Mr. Dean was terminated or resigned. He did not return requests for comment, local media reported.


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