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Board Demotes Principal of High School

July 03, 1988|MICHELE FUETSCH | Times Staff Writer

COMPTON — Centennial High School's principal, accused of misconduct and negligence apparently in connection with a football scandal, has been demoted to an elementary school teaching position.

The Board of Trustees of Compton Unified School District voted last week to demote the principal, Henry Jefferson, and to fire Ira Harper, Centennial public safety officer.

In May, Jefferson and Harper were abruptly suspended, along with Centennial football coach Tony Cruz, whom the board subsequently fired June 14.

Exact charges against the three men have never been revealed, and School Supt. Ted Kimbrough refused again last week to discuss the allegations.

Breach of Responsibilities

However, the board resolution demoting Jefferson said that Kimbrough recommended the action based on Jefferson's "material breach of . . . job responsibilities."

The resolution also said Kimbrough recommended to the board that "cause exists for willful misconduct, gross negligence, poor administrative judgment, dishonesty, and flagrant violation of district's rules and regulations and state law."

Kimbrough said Jefferson has not yet been assigned to a specific elementary school. Before being named Centennial principal, Jefferson taught elementary school and was an elementary school principal.

The board has named Oliver Miller, principal at Charles W. Bursch Elementary School, to replace Jefferson at Centennial.

Jefferson referred all calls for comment to his attorney, Val Fadely of Santa Ana. Fadely would not say whether Jefferson will appeal the board's action, but did say that "the matter will not rest at this point."

Harper was fired, according to the board resolution, "for inattention to and dereliction of duty and willful failure of good conduct." Harper could not be reached for comment.

Though charges against the men have never been detailed, school sources said Cruz took football players on trips without getting school board authorization and also spent thousands of dollars without prior authorization.

After Cruz was fired, a school official told The Times that Jefferson had given the coach "carte blanche" at the school.

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