Judge sentences 4 principals in Detroit school scandal

Sep 10, 2016 by

DETROIT — One by one, the convicted principals pleaded for mercy, insisting they lived for their students and had suffered enough already.

One called himself “a hero.”

But the judge sentenced them all to prison for helping a millionaire businessman cheat the state’s poorest schoolchildren out of $2.7 million in supplies.

“They need to know that they all deserve better than what these principals gave us,” U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts said Thursday in sentencing four more Detroit principals to prison for stealing from the students they were supposed to protect.

In a sensational school corruption trial that has triggered public outrage and planted a bull’s-eye on Detroit’s struggling schools, Roberts handed down sentences that ranged from six months to one year to four ex-principals who took kickbacks from vendor Norman Shy as rewards for approving his phony invoices. The scheme, prosecutors said, cheated Detroit’s schools out of $2.7 million in supplies that were paid for but never delivered.

Prosecutors had argued for stiffer penalties — in some cases double what the defendants got — but Roberts took into account the principals’ otherwise clean records and years of good deeds.

For Spain Elementary Principal Ronald Alexander, whose school won a $500,000 giveaway on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in February, any prison sentence was too severe. At least that’s what he argued to the judge as he called himself “a hero” who lived for his students and school community.

“All I have ever done is give my best to these children,” Alexander said. “I buried three students because the kids’ parents didn’t have money — out of my own pocket … I love this school. It think it’s unfair.”

Source: Judge sentences 4 principals in Detroit school scandal

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