Dublin school principal put on leave to return Monday

DUBLIN — A middle school principal who ended up on leave after he got into a heated exchange with a mother and her high school-aged son will return to work on Monday.

Mark Neal, principal of Wells Middle School, 6800 Penn Drive, was put on paid administrative leave after the incident, which was captured on video.

Heather Duncan, an assistant superintendent with the Dublin Unified School District, announced that Neal would return to work in an e-mail sent out Friday to the school’s staff.

“The district has completed its investigation,” Duncan said in the email.

What sparked the Sept. 17 confrontation remains unclear.

The student who recorded the video, 15-year-old Sebastian Feliciano, and his mother, Lisa Archuleta Feliciano, told this news organization that during their interaction Neal slapped Sebastian’s phone from his hand, then pushed a table against his mother to stop her from getting to the phone.

While the video does not indicate that the volatile discussion got physical, the confrontation caused a stir in the community. Some people commenting on a Nextdoor post that included the video called for Neal to be fired.

But dozens of teachers and staff from Wells, which has about 1,000 students, gathered in front of the school to express support for Neal. They said he has been a unifying presence since taking the helm last year.

The confrontation at Wells took place after Feliciano’s mother said she wanted to meet with Neal to clear up an incident involving her son.

Dublin police said a school resource officer was sent to the campus Sept. 17 around 3:15 p.m. after receiving a report of a “high school-aged” person “causing a disturbance on a bicycle in that area.”

Police said the person “was contacted by our SRO and dispersed from the area.”

Sebastian said he was that student, and visited the school while on his way to his grandparents’ home because he felt he needed to intervene when he saw a crowd of people, including staff members, allegedly involved in a confrontation around some girls who are family friends of his.

Staff Writer Joseph Geha contributed to this report. Check back for updates.

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Author: Peter Hegarty