Supporters back suspended principal
By Carita Jordan, The Town Talk (Alexandria, La.),

May 1, 2003

Support for suspended principal Charles Moore grows as a Rapides Parish School Board member, teachers and parents rally support.

Moore, 51, principal at Walter D. Hadnot Elementary School, was arrested April 11 and charged with cruelty to a juvenile.

The 7-year-old girl's mother, Cindy Finister, has sued Moore in 9th District Court. In the lawsuit, Finister claims that her child's buttocks were severely bruised from a paddling Moore administered on April 9.

"It's been hard on us since Mr. Moore has been gone," said Carolyn Lucas, a first-grade teacher at the school. "We need him here."

Lucas was among nearly the 60 parents, teachers and pupils attending a Wednesday night Parent Support Committee of Walter D. Hadnot School.

Wednesday's meeting was called to generate support for the suspended principal through a petition that is circulating to have Moore's suspension lifted.

The parents are expected to bring the signed petitions to the May 6 meeting of the Rapides Parish School Board.

Board member Rodessa Metoyer encouraged the group to keep firm in its support of Moore.

"We want to see our principal reinstated immediately," said Deborah Dumas, the parent of a pupil attending the school.

Moore, who commuted to the school from his Lafayette residence, did not attend the meeting. He also did not return calls to The Town Talk on Wednesday.

Finister, who did not attend the meeting, said she has no problem with Moore returning to the school, but "... my child will not attend the school."

"The teachers and Mr. Moore have dogged my child, and they won't do it any more," she said.

Finister said her daughter has been in trouble throughout the school year. The latest was the April 9 incident in which the girl was paddled for biting another 7-year-old.

"If (Finister) can sue Mr. Moore, then I think that I need to sue her," said Flora Jenkins, mother of the 7-year-old girl who allegedly was bitten.

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