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Frederick Douglass Principal Pleads Guilty To Stealing $2M Meant For The Needy

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore high school is stunned. Their respected principal is now a convicted felon as he pleads guilty to pocketing nearly $2 million that should have been spent on meals for poor children in Georgia.

Christie Ileto talks to students who didn’t see it coming.

Once praised for turning around the troubled Frederick Douglass High School, Antonio Hurt, 38, now faces federal charges.

Court documents just released Thursday say Hurt stole almost two million federal dollars intended for needy children in Georgia while running an Atlanta daycare from 2007 to 2010, using the money to expand his business, lease luxury cars and buy jewelry.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says: “We will continue to hold accountable those who siphon off public funds for personal use.”

“Shocked. Because he’s a good man, he’s a good principal,” said Jackie Davis, parent.

Davis says this troubling news doesn’t reflect the principal she knows.

“The school really was a mess and he cleaned it up real well,” she said.

Douglass High made national headlines after an HBO documentary revealed problems like high drop out rates and suspensions–problems that leaders in Washington credit Hurt with fixing.

Parents and students say, under Hurt’s leadership, there are more after-school programs and more academic, and even athletic,  resources.

The school sent home a letter to parents.

“I really couldn’t believe it when I read it myself. To read it, I’m like, ‘Wow!'” one student said.

Hurt’s admission of guilt forces his resignation, leaving parents struggling to make sense of the principal they thought they knew.

Baltimore City Schools say an interim principal will be identified over the summer. Meanwhile, they are working with the administration at the school to maintain a sense of continuity.

Sentencing for Hurt is scheduled for June 18.

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