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TX- Principal dead of apparent suicide

4-24-2005 Texas:

ANGLETON — Angleton High School Principal Marcus Cloud, 38, was found dead in a Waller County roadside park Friday night, the victim of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Cloud’s death came hours after Hempstead Superintendent Mona Chadwick informed Angleton officials of allegations Cloud had engaged in improper conduct with a Hempstead student when he was a principal there, Superintendent Heath Burns said at an emergency meeting of the Angleton ISD school board Saturday.

The allegations initially were made Thursday evening, Chadwick said.

“There were allegations of improper conduct with a student,” Chadwick said. “There was nothing in there that said they had sex.”

Chadwick said the Hempstead Police Department is investigating the charges. The department is closed on the weekends and calls rolled over to the Waller County Sheriff’s Department

A dispatcher at the sheriff’s office said the department would release no information over the weekend.

Cloud, who was hired by the district Jan. 18, vehemently denied the allegations, Burns said, but resigned his job at 4:20 p.m. Friday.

“He told me time and again he didn’t want to put our district through this,” Burns said. “He didn’t want our students to be a part of what he knew was coming.”

Waller County sheriff’s deputies found his body Friday night and notified Burns on Saturday morning. Chadwick said he died between 9 and 10 p.m. Friday.

Burns said the district’s primary focus will be on the students.

“Our focus has to be, even through our own hurt and this tragedy, on being there for our students, comforting them and loving them,” Burns said.

Counselors will be available to students beginning Monday.

“We’re going to use school folks and we’ll likely have local pastors come in,” Burns said, adding the district might hire outside professionals as well.

Mike Martindale, whom Cloud replaced in January, will take over the principal’s duties while the district searches for a permanent replacement.

Cloud, who was single and had no children, had been a principal or assistant principal in Hempstead ISD for 9 1/2 years, Chadwick said.

This was the first time he had been accused of any wrongdoing.

“Nothing and I’ve known him for a long time, a long time,” Chadwick said. “I do know that, with Marcus Cloud, the school business was his entire life. He lived and breathed school.”

Renard Thomas, the Angleton board’s president, opened the meeting with a prayer, asking for help for Cloud’s family in their grief.

“Let them understand that your way may not always be understood,” Thomas implored.

When trustees went into executive session, there were three people in the audience. By the time they opened the doors an hour later, there were 29 people in the audience, mostly faculty and staff.

“Its impact is tremendous,” Burns said of Cloud’s death after the meeting.

As he spoke, Cloud’s school identification and keys still were sitting on a table in Burns’ office.

“Mr. Cloud seemed to be well-liked by the faculty, staff and students,” Burns said. ..News Source.. by Michael Wright



A principal apparently shot himself to death, a day after a male student accused him of sexual abuse, the authorities said. The body of the Angleton High School principal, Marcus Cloud, was found in his car with a chest wound Friday evening near Hempstead, about 50 miles northwest of Houston. Mr. Cloud had told relatives he was going to kill himself, said the Waller County sheriff, Randy Smith. A weapon, which had been bought a few hours before, and several notes were found in the car, parked near a highway. The accusation of abuse came from a student at Hempstead High School, where Mr. Cloud was previously the principal. He became principal at Angleton, about 40 miles south of Houston, in January. ..News Source.. by AP

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