Principal Wants Suspension Reversed

Principal Reginald R. Moss remains at the helm of the District's Alice Deal Junior High School this fall and is fighting to reverse an eight-day suspension he served over the summer as punishment for selling Domino's pizza on campus to raise funds for school activities.

An initial hearing on whether the suspension was warranted ended inconclusively when the hearing officer, assistant superintendent Vera White, asked to be recused. White said she could not make a fair decision because she had attended a meeting at which Moss and other principals were told--by a school official who was later fired--that pizza sales would be permitted.

Then-D.C. Inspector General E. Barrett Prettyman Jr. accused Moss in March of violating federal law and school policies regarding sales of food other than school lunches.

Prettyman recommended that Moss, one of the city's longest-serving and best-regarded principals, be fired and hinted that many other principals would soon be accused of similar wrongdoing. But no other allegations surfaced.

Moss, who argued that he stopped and started the food sales as he received different directives from the school system, "won the big battle" by convincing Superintendent Arlene Ackerman he should keep his job, said his attorney, John Ray, a former D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate whose child attends Deal.

Moss now wants to regain his lost salary and repair his damaged reputation, Ray said. He enjoys strong, vocal support from parents at Deal, in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Northwest.

Moss's first hearing was held in June. He has been waiting since then for a second hearing to be scheduled. In the meantime, Moss missed nearly two weeks of work over the summer and fulfilled the other terms of his suspension.

School officials said that a second hearing should be scheduled soon and that no other principals have been disciplined for food sale violations.

"This is something that was just blown all out of proportion," Ray said. "This guy Moss was doing a great job over there."

-- Debbi Wilgoren

Suitcase Project Packing Success

Makenzie Snyder has been a busy girl since Sept. 15, when an article in The Washington Post detailed the 8-year-old's project to deliver suitcases to foster children, who otherwise carry their belongings from home to home in garbage bags.

In the last year, Makenzie has collected more than 1,000 suitcases, into which she puts stuffed animals and a note. A $15,000 check from the Freddie Mac Foundation will allow her to give new duffel bags to 1,200 more children.

Shortly after the article appeared, Makenzie got a call from the White House, inviting her and her family to attend a news conference in the Presidential Room. Hillary Rodham Clinton opened her Sept. 24 speech celebrating adoptions by greeting members of Congress, adoption advocates and Makenzie--whose work the first lady lauded.

After the news conference, President Clinton summoned Makenzie backstage and spent about half an hour chatting. He promised, Makenzie's mother said, to donate duffel bags and Beanie Babies. Makenzie gave him one bag and asked him to pass it on to a foster child.

Then, last week, People magazine arrived to do a photo shoot.

And Makenzie's picture, and a description of her project, will be featured in the upcoming issue of the Land's End catalogue, which is mailed to millions of consumers. The apparel company will solicit donations and make donations itself: The company's first shipment of 100 bags with bears in them was sent to Makenzie this week.

Radio station WMZQ-FM (98.7) recognized Makenzie as a "hometown hero." The station called for an interview as Makenzie was rushing to get ready for her White House trip. The station donated $100 and invited Makenzie to attend a heroes party.

Someone left dozens of Beanie Babies on her porch, but Makenzie has her own post office box to receive donations: Children to Children, P.O. Box 3262, Superior Lane, PMB 288, Bowie, Md. 20175.