CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKYC) – Tamika Hamilton says she just wanted her son to go to summer school, but she didn’t have the money.
She says she told Maple Heights, Ohio school superintendent Charles Keenan she couldn’t pay the $400 up front, so he later suggested she could leave something of value in the district safe until she paid off the summer school amount.
“I was surprised, but I wanted my son to go to summer school,” says Hamilton.
Keenan confirmed the contract.
“In my tenure, I’ve done this a handful of times, when parents can’t pay up front. I can look myself in the mirror and know that I was trying to help this family. It was a unique situation, ” says Keenan. “It was not collateral. We do not run a pawn shop. I did this with the best of intentions, but no good deed goes unpunished. I’m going to be put through the wringer for trying to help.”
Hamilton says she signed the contract, but then a school board member brought the ring back to her house. Keenan says he met with the board, and the practice has ended. It was a way to allow parents to send their children to summer school if they didn’t have the money, according to Keenan.
In the end, Hamilton says her son was held back in seventh grade with the district saying his attendance was not up to par, and he did not pass the summer classes. Hamilton disputes that and has reported her complaint to the Ohio Department of Education.