Scott Greer, Daily Caller, June 1, 2017
Only a few weeks ago, Nicholas Dean was a highly-regarded principal of a New Orleans school designed for at-risk students with nowhere else to go. He had once earned a glowing profile from NPR for his work.
Now Dean is out of a job after he became the focus of left-wing outrage when he attended a demonstration in front of New Orleans’ Confederate monuments in early May.
Dean was accused by local left-wing activists of wearing “white supremacist symbols” at the protest while giving an interview in support of the statues.
The educator told The Daily Caller he attended the protest to defend pro-Confederate demonstrators from attack by left-wing antifa. “I went to the monument protest on May 7th because a week earlier, on May 1st, a group of about a dozen monument supporters were swarmed and attacked by antifa at the Jefferson Davis monument,” Dean told TheDC.
“The antifa showed up in a military style vehicle, threw bottles at people, maced a woman in a wheelchair and punched the monument supporters. The police stood down while they were attacked. I went to stand for free speech and to oppose the Marxists by standing my ground,” he added.
At the May 7 demonstration, Dean said he “wore a helmet in case somebody threw bottles, and goggles in case somebody sprayed mace.”
The now-dismissed principal also wore rings displaying a Maltese crusader cross and a skull, along with a shield bearing the Spartan lambda symbol and the words “Come” and “Take.” These are the regalia leftists considered to be white supremacist.
These symbols, however, are popular with many conservatives in America. Gun rights enthusiasts, in particular, are fond of the Spartan declaration, which is typically spelled out in full as “Come and Take It.”
Those factors were apparently enough for Dean’s employer, Crescent Leadership Academy, to suspend and then fire him.
For more than three years, Dean was the principal of CLA, a school that is nearly 99 percent African-American and where many of its students regularly deal with deadly violence outside of the classroom.
Prior to termination, his work had been praised by several city leaders and news outlets. Dean was listed as a participating partner in Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s murder-reduction campaign “Nola For Life” due to his work with at-risk youth. A five-part series in The New Orleans Times-Picayune on one of the troubled teens Dean worked with highlighted how the principal dramatically turned around CLA once he took over.
The newspaper noted that under Dean’s leadership fights plummeted, re-expulsions were eliminated and the new principal worked to bring community college vocational training, dorms for homeless students and other positive features to the school to differentiate it from a prison.
Several students praised Dean in NPR’s profile of CLA and were adamant he was the reason the school made a big improvement. “The principal, Mr. Dean, is a good man,” one student told NPR. “He works with you.”
But the school appeared to think Dean’s out-of-the-classroom political speech was more important than his work on the clock.
To add to Dean’s troubles, he recently underwent back surgery and his unemployment has made it tougher to pay off the costs of the operations. Friends have set up a GoFundMe to help him meet the expenses.