Bibb County Superintendent of Schools Romain Dallemand answered his critics Wednesday in an email sent to members of the Board of Education.
In late May, community activist Darren Latch filed a complaint with the state's Professional Standards Commission that Dallemand falsified his resume by claiming he was a licensed mental health therapist.
Latch told 13WMAZ that another activist, Bill Knowles, filed a records request showing that Dallemand was not a licensed mental health therapist in Florida from 1994-98, as stated on his resume.
In his email to school board members, the superintendent wrote: "I was not attempting to deceive anyone regarding this work experience."
Dallemand admits he was never issued a license to practice as a mental health therapist but said the law allowed him to work as a therapist as long as he had supervision.
"Florida statutes at that time allowed practitioners to deliver services while being supervised by a licensed mental health provider. At the time I provided services as a therapist, I was working within a permissible arrangement that fell within the guidelines of Florida statute."
The superintendent also stated the policy of the school district is to withhold comment on complaints with the PSC until it has received a decision.
Efforts to reach Dallemand on Wednesday were unsuccessful, and Bibb schools spokesman Donnie Porter would not elaborate further on the situation.
PSC chief investigator John Grant said the board could reject the complaint on Thursday, approve some kind of sanction against Dallemand or ask Bibb County to conduct its own investigation.
The state board can approve a range of sanctions against educators, including revoking their license.
Dallemand has the right to appeal any action against him to an administrative law judge.
RELATED LINK: Dallemand Accused of Falsifying Resume
The full text of the email Dallemand sent to school board members Wednesday:
Good afternoon, Board Members:
Running the day-to-day operations of this school system is one of my greatest and most rewarding professional challenges. The continued implementation of The Macon Miracle is the cornerstone of a transformational process that is systematically and dramatically turning around our school system to provide students with the essential tools they need to be academically and socially prepared for college and beyond.
Without a doubt, we face persistent challenges to achieving this ideal. To be sure, all stakeholders can do a better job of working together for the betterment of the students in Bibb County schools. Whenever adults choose to point fingers and assess blame, it serves to deflect attention away from the interests of the very children we are entrusted to educate. Admittedly, it can be easy to get caught up in these distractions if we are not careful.
You may have heard recently that some members of our community are alleging I was not legally permitted to provide mental health therapy while living and working in Florida in the 1990s. This misinformation is sensational, but it is not accurate. Florida statutes at that time allowed practitioners to deliver services while being supervised by a licensed mental health provider. At the time I provided services as a therapist, I was working within a permissible arrangement that fell within the guidelines of Florida statute. This issue is now in the form of a complaint with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) for its review.
I was not attempting to deceive anyone regarding this work experience. My intent was simply to more precisely define the scope of my therapy work. To remove the possibility of any continuing confusion regarding this issue, I have been advised by the State of Florida's Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage & Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling to refer to my title as a "therapist" in any future references. Therefore, I will make the adjustment in my personal and professional documentation.
As superintendent, I have seen first-hand the professionalism and thoroughness of the PSC; therefore, I have every confidence in their investigation processes as the truth comes to light. As always, the District stands ready to fully cooperate if the PSC deems an action is warranted against any certified staff member.
It is the longstanding practice of the school system to refrain from publically commenting on complaints filed with the PSC against any former, current, or future Board employee. The reason is simple: anyone can file a complaint for any reason. Until a professional review is conducted to examine the merits of the complaint, it is usually premature to address the complaint. However, since these allegations are targeting me and regrettably diverting attention away from where it should be, I am making a rare exception and am publically addressing them here.
I anticipate a quick resolution to these allegations and am hopeful that we can again focus on the issues important to the majority of this community and the long-term success of our students. When we have 49% of our students unprepared to graduate, I believe it is a more productive use of our energies to work together to build up our schools rather than provide a platform for the few individuals in our county who are trying to tear us down.
Our students are watching. I respectfully submit we must all model strength of character by engaging in civil discourse that thoughtfully maintains the success of our students as its focus. With this as a goal, every stakeholder must personally assume responsibility to proactively and attentively work to put our students' interests first.
Romain Dallemand, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
484 Mulberry Street
Macon, GA 31201