More on the Maritime controversy
Supporters and critics of Marco Clark seem likely to dominate the public comment portion of tonight's school board meeting. My story today gets into the nature of the allegations against him: allowing a student to teach junior ROTC classes (an accusation the student confirms) and allowing the student to graduate without all the necessary credits (an accusation the student denies). Now, Clark is saying he was denied due process and wants to be reinstated. The school system says he's no longer employed there.
Based on the comments of Clark's lawyer, Alan Silverberg, I fear this could turn into a long, nasty court battle. Meanwhile, what about the kids? The teachers who called out in the wake of his departure are back, at least, and it seems that the return of Assistant Principal Kevin Brooks has helped restore order. But what does it say about the school climate that the boy whose mother reported the allegations against Clark must be home schooled out of safety concerns? The school system is offering to send him to another naval junior ROTC school in the suburbs, since there aren't any others in Baltimore.
And as we discussed last week on this blog, whatever Clark's transgressions may have been, there are an awful lot of kids who still look up to him and are mourning his departure. One of them is Marcus Bernard, the 2007 graduate who says he taught the ROTC classes. Already the father of two young sons at 18 years old, Bernard, has a stable job now as a car salesman. "If it wasn't for Dr. Clark, I wouldn't be here" he said in an interview with me yesterday. "I would've dropped out of high school. I'm not saying what Dr. Clark did was ethical and correct, but he did get a lot of kids through high school, me being one of them.... I didn't have a father for 17 years, but Dr. Clark took me in as one of his own sons. When both my sons were born, Dr. Clark was there. Dr. Clark was a father to Marcus."