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Miles called ‘bully’ for removal of Nutall

MIKE McGEE | 10/27/2014, 7:04 a.m. | Updated on 10/27/2014, 6:55 p.m.
These were some of the labels tossed out to describe Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles at a spirited ...
Main photo: Former Dallas ISD board trustee Ron Price called an emergency meeting Oct. 16 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Fair Park, calling for the contract termination of Superintendent Mike Miles for ordering the removal of trustee Bernadette Nutall from Dade Middle School on Oct. 13. Smaller photos: Dallas ISD board trustee Bernadette Nutall and Dallas ISD School District Superintendent Mike Miles Photo by Mike McGee

By MIKE McGEE

The Dallas Examiner

“A bully.”

“A Hitler.”

“An insensitive coward.”

These were some of the labels tossed out to describe Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles at a spirited Oct. 16 emergency meeting called by former school board trustee Ron Price. The meeting, held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Fair Park, concerned a recent situation where Miles had Dallas ISD board trustee Bernadette Nutall physically removed from Billy Earl Dade Middle School by Dallas police. Nutall is the trustee for District 9, which includes the South Dallas area.

“He never said that Bernadette was in the meeting room,” Price said of Miles. “He never said that Bernadette burst into the meeting room. He never said that Bernadette interrupted the meeting. He never said that Bernadette was a part of the meeting,” Price emphasized.

Many felt Nutall had the right to be there and disagreed strongly with Miles’ decision.

“He put her out before the meeting started. He put her out of the building,” someone in the audience exclaimed angrily.

The incident occurred Oct. 13 around 6:30 a.m. when a meeting with Miles and members of the school’s staff was about to begin. Nutall claimed that she had been contacted by parents in the school district about the event that led to her visit to Dade. The school has recently seen a principal and 10 teachers removed from their positions.

Juanita Wallace, an eyewitness, described to those who attended the emergency meeting what she saw occur between Nutall and police.

“[An] officer had Bernadette by this arm, and one by this arm …” she stood and demonstrated, stating that a third officer was also with Nutall as they removed her for trespassing. “The right officer was opening the door, pushing her out. Now the bottom line is, if we allow this to happen to a Black woman, or any woman, then we’ll allow anything to happen.”

Wallace decreed that an appropriate way to send a message to the school board to terminate Miles’ contract was for Dade parents to take their children out of school for a period of time – an idea that others supported. However, there were no reports of a massive change in attendance at the beginning of the week.

“They’re not learning anything over there at Dade, anyway,” Wallace remarked on the academically troubled school. If all 900 Dade students avoided the campus for at least one day the district would lose the government funding that is given to the district for every child attending a DISD school, she pronounced. “Miles understands money.”

Nutall described a conversation with Miles during a meeting that took place with the superintendent and other trustees after the incident occurred.

“[I] recapped the event; asked him [under] what authority he could do it?” she recalled. “He said because he’s the superintendent.”

Numerous individuals at the meeting – including Price, District 5 trustee Lew Blackburn and District 6 trustee Joyce Foreman – indicated that Miles not only crossed a line of respectfulness with Nutall’s ousting, but also one of professionalism. It was pointed out repeatedly that the assets and property of the school district are the responsibilities of the trustees; Miles himself is contracted by the trustees. Price and other supporters of Nutall argued that the action Miles took on Oct. 13 marked the first time in city history that a subordinate DISD employee removed a trustee from school property that the trustee had the legal and professional authority to occupy.