DeKalb County schools chief Crawford Lewis has extended the contract with retired Judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore – a contract that has already earned her about $170,000, a school spokesman said.
The contract extension asks Moore to investigate all allegations of bullying at Dunaire Elementary School. Jaheem Herrera, an 11-year-old student at the school, hanged himself at his home on April 16 after his mother claims she complained about incessant bullying.
After an investigation Moore said Jaheem was not bullied at school though the district never released a written report. Moore’s findings, which included troubling details regarding Jaheem’s home life, angered family members who have vowed to file a lawsuit.
The contract extension, signed June 19, will keep Moore working through Oct. 30.
“There were other allegations that were still lingering. Dr. Lewis promised that he didn’t want to leave any rock unturned,” district spokesman Dale Davis said.
Jim Walls, an investigative journalist who runs the Web site Atlanta Unfiltered, filed a Freedom of Information Act requesting documents related to Moore’s investigation, including invoices she sent the district. He said he was only given a copy of the contract extension and the amounts the district has paid to Moore. District attorneys claimed the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege.
Moore was paid $3,423 in May and $166,995 in June, according to a response to Walls’ request.
Moore could not be reached for comment by press time.
School board member H. Paul Womack Jr. said he wasn’t aware of all the details but did not disagree with Lewis’ decision to extend Moore’ contract.
“The superintendent has that right and authority without coming to the board. That’s within his discretion,” he said. “I think it’s important that we have an independent, outside attorney.”