Eshe’ Collins has called the allegations filed against her "baseless." Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

APS ethics commission to investigate complaint against board vice-chair

The Atlanta school board’s ethics commission will investigate an alleged ethics violation by school board vice-chairwoman Eshé Collins. 

The independent panel, which receives and hears complaints about potential violations, met Tuesday to discuss a complaint filed by an Atlanta Public Schools parent against Collins regarding their interactions at two separate meetings. The commission, in a statement released after the meeting, said that it “unanimously determined an investigation into the complaint was warranted” regarding violations that allegedly took place at a June 26 meeting, during which parent Dawn Brockington-Shaw said Collins called her “a liar.” 

Brockington-Shaw alleged Collins violated conflict of interest and board conduct policies as well as the code of ethics oath. 

Collins has denied the allegations, calling them “completely baseless.” She said on Tuesday that she appreciates the commission’s “thorough review” and the upcoming chance to respond. 

She said she feels confident that the commission will side with her once it gets an opportunity to fully consider the matter.

The commission on Tuesday determined that a similar allegation filed by Brockington-Shaw against Collins that stemmed from a 2016 community meeting did not warrant further review. 

“The Commission reminds the public that an investigation is not a process to determine whether a violation actually occurred -- it is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to hold a formal hearing. Investigations are private and confidential,” the commission said, in a written statement. 

In her complaint, Brockington-Shaw alleged that Collins and she disagreed during a recent meeting about concerns at Mays High School. Brockington-Shaw said that she told Collins that she was “incompetent” and “unable to do the work that was needed in the Mays cluster,” according to the complaint. 

Collins called Brockington-Shaw a liar, the complaint stated. Brockington-Shaw said she left the room but could hear Collins continuing to call her a liar. 

“I turned around and walked back into the media center and asked Ms. Collins to explain what I was lying about,” Brockington-Shaw wrote in her complaint. 

She stated that another person “was physically holding Ms. Collins back from getting closer to me.” Brockington-Shaw said that when she left the room again, “Ms. Collins followed me out the building talking about me.” 

“Both of our voices were raised,” Brockington-Shaw wrote. 

In a written statement issued Monday, Collins described the complaint as one made by constituent who wanted to “publicize her personal animosities against me.” 

During an investigation, the commission can secure documents, conduct voluntary interviews and request sworn affidavits and written comments. The commission said that Collins must respond in writing to the complaint. 

The commission has not yet scheduled a date for its next meeting regarding the complaint.

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