D.C. School Superintendent Floretta D. McKenzie has suspended Wilson High Principal Michael Durso for four days for refusing to report to work in May after he was overruled for dismissing a 16-year-old student charged with raping a classmate, according to Durso's lawyer.
McKenzie suspended Durso without pay, calling his actions "insubordinate" and damaging to the student, the school and the school system in general, said Durso's attorney Marc Moskowitz.
Durso suspended the youth shortly after he was arrested in April. A hearing examiner overruled Durso's decision and ordered that the student be allowed to return to school.
Durso, unhappy with that decision, refused to report to work for three days, though McKenzie ordered him to do so.
Rape charges against the youth were dropped about three days after Durso started his boycott.
Durso has been suspended once and reprimanded twice in recent years in connection with his decisions as Wilson principal. In 1984, he detained about 300 tardy studnets outside the school and lectured them on punctuality; the next day, he sent 70 late arrivals home.
In another incident, he was reprimanded and suspended for three days for forfeiting a Friday afternoon football game after failing to reach an agreement with the opposing team to reschedule the game.
Durso declined to comment on his suspension, which went into effect Monday and will force him to stay away from the school until Friday.
"We are in the process of making an administrative appeal. We're filing a grievance and following that through its normal course," said Moskowitz, his attorney.
Durso was notified early this month that he would be suspended, and since that time he has asked McKenzie to allow him to work without pay in order to prepare for the upcoming school year, Moskowitz said.
"We repeatedly asked that Durso be allowed to report to work without pay this week pending the outcome of the grievance, but have not received a response," he said.
McKenzie could not be reached for comment.
The mother of the youth who was charged with rape said last night that her son flunked two courses, and blamed Durso for making it difficult for him to concentrate on classwork during the controversy.
She characterized the four-day suspension as "a slap on the wrist. I think that, at a minimum, he should be demoted back down to a teacher. He's been suspended and reprimanded before. How many times will he be allowed to break the rules and keep his position? If he doesn't like the D.C. school rules, he should go work somewhere else."