Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is the AEA Protecting Amanda Duboise Watkins?

Amanda Ladel Duboise Watkins is no longer an employee of the Sheffield School System if we are to believe local news reports. Yet, the Sheffield Board of Education refuses to verify that fact, referring all inquiries to their attorney. What does their legal representative say? He has yet to return calls to the Associated Press in Montgomery.

Rest assured that Mrs. Watkins is still a member of the Alabama Education Association, a teachers' union headed by Paul Hubbert, a one-time friend and associate of Watkins' father Delmer Duboise. The elder Duboise served as both instructor and Public Relations Director for Northwest Community College for approximately ten years, leaving the small two-year institution in 1996.

According to newspaper accounts from that era, Duboise, then 47, was arrested on May 27, 1995, for criminal solicitation. According to Franklin County authorities, Duboise offered a 20 year-old male student the munificent sum of $25.00 to engage in a sex act. (Feel free to inject any jokes about the Bill and Chelsea Clinton of Northwest Alabama.) In case you think the amount $25.00 was a typo, rest assured it is not. That amount would equal approximately $34.31 in 2010.

Duboise announced that he had been set up by his political enemies and demanded a trial sans jury. Franklin County was adamant that Duboise should be judged by a jury of his peers--thus producing an extended legal battle in which the AEA provided Duboise assistance. While awaiting trial, Delmer Duboise was assigned to the Institutional Research Department at Northwest Community College.

After a legal battle that finally terminated in the Alabama Supreme Court the next March, Duboise was allowed to be tried without a jury. The Franklin county educator was eventually offered probation for the misdemeanor offense and quietly left academic life. For the past several years, Duboise has been mentioned in various news outlets as a "minister."

Have Delmer Duboise's connections to Paul Hubbert and Jim Folsom Jr. influenced the stance of the Sheffield Board of Education? Their refusal to discuss the incident with the press has not made the sex charges against Amanda Duboise Watkins go away; their refusal has made the Montgomery AP journalist just that more determined to report on the situation.

Note: While we have stated these facts before, we will do so again for those who insist upon promoting rumors about various political candidates:

1. We are not connected in any way to the ShoalsInsider.
2. We have not endorsed any candidate in the 2010 elections.
3. Anyone is welcome to send us commentary/articles. In fact, we encourage it.
4. No political candidate is associated with this blog. We have published one column from Tina Miller Parker concerning CASA, an extremely worthy organization. Any candidate may send us material to publish at any time. Again, we encourage it.
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