Chester Upland board president convicted of fighting with teacher

Posted: May 25, 2012

Chester Upland School Board president Wanda Mann was convicted of harassment, a summary offense, Thursday, for fighting with a teacher at Chester High School earlier this year.

The board president was fined $300 and costs. She has 30 days to appeal the verdict by Linwood district justice David Griffin to Common Pleas Court.

The ruling is another blow to the troubled Chester Upland district, which almost closed its doors for lack of money earlier this year and is facing an even bigger deficit this fall.

In court Thursday, Leslye Jordan, a dental technology teacher at the high school, said that on March 14, she saw Mann at the high school and requested to speak to her about a series of incidents with a student whom Jordan felt was terrorizing her.

Later, in Jordan’s room, Mann and Jordan clashed over Jordan’s daughter, who is not a Chester High student, but who was at the school that day. Mann told Jordan that she didn’t like "teachers like you," and would ask the school board to fire her, Jordan said.

Jordan testified that the confrontation culminated with Mann shoving and punching her.

Mann testified that after she said she would report Jordan to the principal for having her daughter at the school without permission, Jordan cursed, shoved and tried to hit her.

"I defended myself," Mann said, acknowledging she hit Jordan.

Mann’s attorney, Jacquie Jones, said that a series of security camera still shots in the hallway did not show Mann hitting Jordan first. "Both of them got into an argument," Jones said. "They both had words … this was an argument that got out of hand."

Mann declined comment after the hearing.

Jordan, who said she is still employed by the district but has not returned to work, said: "Justice was served; hopefully this will be the end of it." She said she hoped the board would remove Mann from her post.

In March, the majority-Republican school board voted 5-4 along party lines not to remove Mann, who is a Republican.

On Thursday, Charlie Warren, one of the Democrats on the board, said he would not seek Mann’s ouster at this point, because the board is now working together to fight for more state funding and against a proposed state takeover.

"We’ve been working cooperatively to get a plan of action against what this governor is bringing down," Warren said. "Does this put a bad face on us and do I still think she should step down? Yes. But this would throw us off on a tangent. … I’m not going to waste my time."

Contact staff writer Dan Hardy at 610-313-8134, dhardy@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @DanInq.

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