Principal's suspension just the latest problem at East High

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - This past week at East High School began with a massive fight involving more than a half-dozen female students that was finally dispersed with pepper spray.

Saturday, the week ended on a higher note, as the Heal the Hood Foundation used the school for an event, focused in part on ending violence among young people.

Ladell Beamon, who organized the event, said East High's principal, Frederick Curry, approved his use of the school.

"Principal Curry's been really open with us, and our hearts go out to him right know," Beamon said.

Friday, Action News 5 learned that Curry had been suspended with pay by Superintendent Kriner Cash pending an internal investigation.

While the school district is offering no details regarding Curry's suspension, a number of high-profile crimes have occurred on and near campus under his watch.

For instance, four students were arrested on campus in January on drug and gun charges.  Then, in March, three male students were charged with raping a female student inside an abandoned house near campus - during the school day.

And, reading teacher Emily Tubb was indicted on federal drug charges just three weeks ago.

"We see it as an irony now to bring some positive media attention to the school," Beamon said of Saturday's event.

And just like making music in a band requires collaboration, Beamon believes no single person is responsible for the problems at East High School.

"Even with me being the CEO of a company, there are several components that make it work," he said. "Not just me.

Frederick Curry has been principal at East High since 2005.  The school board is expected to name an interim replacement during its meeting Monday night.

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