The Harford County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations is opposing a school board member's request that a statewide PTA group strip the Havre de Grace Elementary School PTA of its charter because its president urged that a principal be fired.
Andre Fournier, president of the countywide PTA group, said his council decided at an emergency meeting Wednesday night to stand behind the Havre de Grace group and its president, Jerry Ashby.
The controversy began earlier this month when Mr. Ashby urged that Franklin L. Tull, principal of the elementary school, be removed in the wake of teacher transfers opposed by many parents.
"These teachers can't be all wrong," Mr. Ashby stated in an article in The Sun on June 11. "We have tried to work this out in good faith, but it's gotten to the point where he has just got to go."
Richard W. Daub Jr. of Havre de Grace, who was appointed to the school board a year ago, said that with that statement and other actions, Mr. Ashby violated PTA rules that prohibit the group from considering "personal grievances" and from "encroaching on the administrative functions of the school."
Mr. Daub and his wife sent a June 14 letter to the Maryland Congress of Parents and Teachers, turning in their PTA membership cards and asking that the state group revoke the charter.
Mr. Ashby has "tarnished the PTA's image," Mr. Daub said last week. Mr. Daub now refuses to comment on the issue. "I've left it up to the powers that be," he said.
Mr. Daub was one of the parents who worked to have the Parent Teacher Organization at Havre de Grace become a chartered PTA in 1993. He stepped down as president of the group last year when he was appointed to the school board.
Mr. Ashby has said he was not speaking on behalf of the PTA and did not believe he was violating any charter or rules. He called the possibility of charter revocation "drastic."
Mr. Fournier agreed. "It's unfortunate that they're trying to crucify Jerry Ashby for being a concerned citizen," he said. Mr. Daub's action is very disappointing for Mr. Fournier because he and county PTAs lobbied heavily for his school board appointment, Mr. Fournier said. John R. Allen III, president of the state PTA group, said revoking a charter would be "a last resort," but he intends to investigate Mr. Daub's claims.