E-mail lands principal
in hot water

STATHAM - Nearly three months after the principal of Statham Elementary sent images containing sexual references and profanities in an e-mail to his staff, Barrow County Schools Superintendent Ron Saunders said he anticipates the school system will soon create policy and procedures to address employees' use of the Internet.

In an e-mail dated Aug. 16, principal Mac Almond sent an e-mail titled "Items of Information" addressed to "SES Family." The e-mail contained several attachments of comic images described as "inappropriate."

Fewer than 30 minutes later, Almond sent out another e-mail apologizing to recipients for the possibility that the "slogans" were attached. Nine minutes after that, Almond sent out another message, stating he was "embarrassed beyond words."

"I am totally embarrassed and truly apologetic ... please DELETE the 'items of information' email," his e-mail states. "I have several retired USMC (U.S. Marine Corps) friends who send me some inappropriate emails and when I tried to cut and paste from one of their emails, evidently the entire email came through.

"Again, I would ask that you please delete and not view the attachments if they came through."

The Post received two anonymous letters last week containing copies of these e-mails. Saunders said Almond immediately notified him of the incident, and they discussed the matter at the time. He had not, however, reviewed the material until the Post provided him with the copies it had received.

"The material sent to the faculty is unacceptable even if it was sent by accident," Saunders wrote in an e-mail. "I have had discussions with the principal about the severity of the situation and I do not see it repeating. ... I do not anticipate any further personnel actions on this situation at this time."

Saunders said no teachers or staff members at the school have contacted him about the material. The school system has procedures in place to deal with employee grievances, he said.

The school system also has guidelines in place to address students' use of the Internet, but no such policies exist for employees.

Multiple attempts to reach Almond have been unsuccessful. Messages left at Statham Elementary and with the superintendent, as well as in an e-mail, were not returned as of 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. School officials said because Almond suffered injuries in a fall at home, he is not expected back at school until next week.