Parents say DPS has broken their trust due to fraud scheme

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A betrayal of the children - more than a dozen current and former Detroit Public Schools principals charged with ripping off the students they pledged to serve.

Amid the district's financial woes we've learned the officials participated in a million dollar bribery and kickback scheme.

Parents are expressing their anger and frustration at the educators they trusted.

"I'm frustrated, angry and I'm pissed off," said one parent. "Heartbroken, I'm really upset."

Speaking anonymously a parent with two students attending Marcus Garvey Academy talked about how her kids came home from school with letters asking for school supplies and donations. 

"For the last two years, I constantly had to buy tissue, paper, sanitizer, it varied," she said.

She was asked to provide these items because according to U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade the 12 principals including James Hern, the principal at her children's school, were running a kickback scheme with someone supposed to be supplying the schools.

"In exchange for approving these fraudulent invoices, Norman Shy paid bribes to these principals," McQuade said. "The total amount of bribes that he paid varied for the individual principals but the total was $900,000."

Over the course of a two year investigation it's alleged a total of 2.7 million dollars was changing hands and very little of that money was reaching the kids.

"Just think about what that is doing to the kids emotionally," the mother said. "And what's going to happen when they go back to school. They are not going to know what to do or how to act."

Now the district is once again left with the task of rebuilding a broken trust.

In a press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday, McQuade announced that 13 charges would be filed against current and former principals within the Detroit Public School System.

McQuade said one man was at the center of the alleged scheme. Norman Shy, 74, lives in Franklin and owns Allstate Sales. According to McQuade, Shy conspired with 13 principals by paying them bribes while he submitted fraudulent invoices for school supplies.

The investigation took years to complete and McQuade said Shy received a total of $5 million in payments, $2.7 million of which was fraudulent. McQuade said Shy paid a total of $900,000 in bribes to the school officials.

McQuade said DPS cooperated fully in the investigation.

Others charged in the investigation include Beverly Campbell, former principal of Rosa Parks School and Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School; Clara Smith, current principal of Thirkell Elementary-Middle School; Germla Johnson, former principal of Charles R. Drew Academy and current principal of Earhart Elementary-Middle School; James Hearn, current principal of Marcus Garvey Academy; Josette Buendia, current principal of Bennett Elementary School; Nina Graves-Hicks, former principal of Davis Aerospace Technical High School; Ronald Alexander, current principal of Charles L. Spain Elementary-Middle School; Ronnie Sims, former principal of Fleming Elementary and Brenda Scott Middle School; Stanley Johnson, current principal of Hutchinson Elementary; Tanya Bowman, former principal of Osborn Collegiate Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology; Tia'von Moore-Patton, current principal of Jerry L. White Center High School; and Willye Pearsall, former principal of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.