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DeKalb Elementary Principal Fired For Religious Gifts, Misconduct

A DeKalb elementary school principal was fired Monday after the school board charged her with violating board policies regarding religious materials.

After a day-long closed meeting, the DeKalb School Board voted to dismiss Shahran Spears as principal of Gwendolyn Brooks Elementary School. Dozens of supporters showed up at district headquarters on her behalf: 20 of them were allowed one minute to speak to the board.

Cele Meyer of DeKalb told the board she is usually a strong backer of the separation of church and state, but this time, she thought it had gone too far. She reminded the board they had just finished repeating the Pledge of Allegiance, which invokes "One Nation, under God."

Six of eight misconduct charges against Spears were related to her purchase and distribution of a book of inspiration and prayers for teachers. Other charges involved teacher accusations of a non-supportive work environment.

The board didn’t publicly address their reasons for firing Spears. She says she will talk to her lawyer before deciding whether to appeal her dismissal. Her legacy at Brooks elementary will include diversifying the staff and raising test scores, two areas she says the district must continue to improve.