Paterson Top Stories

Revised Version: No Change in Status for Kennedy Principal Who Made Comments on Killings at First Thanksgiving

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Amod Field Photo from Paterson Public Schools' website
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PATERSON, NJ – Amod Field remains in his position as the principal overseeing the Kennedy high school complex almost two months after he made controversial comments regarding scalping at the first Thanksgiving.

Some city education officials say a district inquiry has found no reason to discipline Field. The district's official spokeswoman has declined to provide details of the inquiry. “I cannot discuss a personnel issue,’’ said spokeswoman Terry Corallo. “If there is any public information to be shared, it will be shared.”

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[Editor's Note: This story was revised on Mon., Jan. 14.]

Some city education officials said it was determined that the principal, Amod Field, did not violate any district policies in his speech made the day before Thanksgiving over the school’s public address system.

On a tape recording of the speech sent to PatersonPress.com, Field said: “We must very, very, very, very understanding to our Native Americans, who lost and sacrificed because of the scalping that took place on Thanksgiving. They were invited to a dinner, and then their lives were taken from them."

Field’s comments resulted in the filing of an affirmative action complaint against him, officials said. But he was cleared of that complaint as well as another one that had been filed regarding other comments Field had made, officials said.

The president of the union that represents city teachers and other school staff said his organization had not filed the charges against Field. The union president, Peter Tirri, said his understanding was that the affirmative action complaints had been filed by individual staff members.

“This is being kept very quiet, as most affirmative action complaints are,’’ said Tirri. “Until we receive a report on the district’s findings, we’re not in position to take any action.’’

Field is the principal of operations overseeing the four academies housed in the Kennedy high building. There has been some tension in his relationship with some staff at the complex, according to education officials. Field’s supporters say it simply stems from the staff’s reaction to the demands for improvement performance he’s made. His detractors say Field is the cause of the problems because of what they describe as his overbearing administrative style.

Field said he was glad that the inquiry concluded with no action taken against him. He also said he had made similar comments about Thanksgiving the year before and that there was no problem.

Field said he based his comments on materials some historians and Native American bloggers have written regarding the treatment and massacres of Native Americans in Massachusetts during the 17th century.

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