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Posted at 6:20 PM ET, 06/18/2010

Detroit school board head quits after complaint alleging inappropriate behavior

By Valerie Strauss

In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category:

Otis Mathis, the president of the Detroit Board of Education, was accused of fondling himself for 20 minutes in a meeting with the system’s superintendent and quit right after the incident, but now is seeking to take back his resignation, the Detroit Free Press reports.

In this article, the newspaper says that board Vice President Anthony Adams plans to move ahead and post the vacancy.

Superintendent Teresa N. Gueyser filed a detailed complaint addressed to Adams about Mathis, saying he used a handkerchief while masturbating in front of her the entire time she was speaking.

Her complaint says that she has witnessed other unacceptable acts by Mathis and that she had informed him some time ago to have no physical contact with her, including handshaking.

Some board members told the Free Press that they did not want Mathis to return, but one member, the Rev. David Murray, said he would be happy for Mathis to return and that Mathis took responsibility for his bad behavior toward Gueyser.

“He’s a young man; maybe he didn’t know it was offensive to her,” Murray said of the 55-year-old Mathis. “It’s not something I would do. He’s a young man. That’s just the way it is.”

Back in March, Detroit news writer Laura Berman wrote a column about whether Mathis was fit to lead the school board of the 90,000-studen system because of his poor grammar.

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By Valerie Strauss  | June 18, 2010; 6:20 PM ET
Tags:  board president resigns, detroit board of education, otis mathis, school board  
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One more strong, powerful black man taken down by the white hegemony. What a shame.

Posted by: WallyWalter | June 18, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

If you're over the age of 13 and don't know that this behavior is offensive, you're mentally incompetent to be walking around in public, much less acting as president of a school board.

Posted by: burntnorton | June 18, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

.."he was a young man, maybe he didn't know it was offensive to her." (said REVEREND Murray)

Cross this town off the tour of my spiritual journey through life!

Seriously, this story is disturbing on so many levels, I wouldn't know where to begin.

Posted by: rsolnet | June 18, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

This is the same Detroit school board president who acknowledges he has difficulty composing a coherent English sentence.

You'd think that it would be a big story that the head of a major city's school system cannot write, resigns after multiple instances of masturbating for as much as 20 minutes in front of a female school official, and has his behavior defended by another school board member who is a prominent Detroit minister.

Any bets on where (whether) this will appear in the Post Saturday?

Posted by: ronStrong | June 18, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

55 is considered young. I'm 55 and certainly don't think I'm young. This guy sounds like he's mentally ill or mentally challenged. And good grief, why is someone with poor grammar the leader of the school board. This town is really messed up.

Posted by: missingwisc | June 18, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I would like to respond to this but I am too embarrassed.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | June 18, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Eewwwww. Icccckkkkk. Yeechhh.

Posted by: aed3 | June 19, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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