Orange County

Interim Chapel Hill High School principal apologizes after newsletter dustup.

Steve Scroggs, interim principal at Chapel Hill High School, sent an apology for the tone of a recent newsletter. In this 2006 photo, Scroggs, then the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools assistant superintendent for support services, gives the CHCCS Board of Education a tour of the then-new Carrboro High School.
Steve Scroggs, interim principal at Chapel Hill High School, sent an apology for the tone of a recent newsletter. In this 2006 photo, Scroggs, then the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools assistant superintendent for support services, gives the CHCCS Board of Education a tour of the then-new Carrboro High School. The News & Observer, 2006 file photo

The interim principal at Chapel Hill High School has apologized to parents and others offended by a recent online newsletter.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, reported the story about the newsletter Monday.

Steve Scroggs, who is serving as interim principal at Chapel Hill High, sent the weekly online letter Sunday, The DTH reported. In addition to announcements about upcoming testing and athletic events, Scroggs used disguised profanity and some tongue-in-cheek commentary to discourage litter and vandalism.

Reached Wednesday, Scroggs said he had reflected on the email newsletter and sent an apology to everyone who received the newsletter.

“I do think I stepped over the line,” Scroggs said. Many people said they enjoyed the newsletter “but I did offend some, and that’s not OK.”

In the newsletter, Scroggs told parents about an incident in which someone stuffed a toilet in the women’s bathroom with toilet paper and flushed. “When I went to school, girls took toilet paper and stuffed it in their …. anyway, we had to go around, clean out toilets and replace the paper,” Scroggs wrote. The incident “brings up a serious issue at CHHS, vandalism and taking care of CHHS. We will spend in excess to $10,000 for repairs mostly caused by silliness this year,” he continued.

“Tearing up CHHS is not cool, and tends to make grumpy old Principals ($#$%)issed off. Take care of CHHS and it will take care of you,” Scroggs wrote.

In his opening, rambling paragraph, he used sayings like “bury me with my boots on” and “better than sex.”

Most readers who commented on the story on the DTH website supported Scroggs. Another reader said Scroggs needed to set a better example. Others praised his sense of humor and long career as an educator.

Scroggs is a retired administrator with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. He is a graduate of Chapel Hill High. He served as assistant superintendent for support services, and was principal of McDougle Elementary.

The principal also made a plea to parents to help improve school morale: “I get so tired of BMW,” Scroggs wrote. “For the few lost souls, BMW = Bit#&ing, moaning and whining.” He asked parents to be more positive in their discussions about the school. “If you say that Mr. Scroggs is crass, you’ll repeat that 20 times to everyone, but will not make one mention about a class or concert that rocked your kid at CHHS,” he wrote.

In other parts of the newsletter, Scroggs discussed trying to help a student who had locked her keys in her car. “As is my daily practice, I ask every child out front as I leave if they need a ride home,” and he asked the same of the student with the key dilemma.

Scroggs also urged students to carry their school identification at all times or risk being put on a naughty list for the holidays, ensuring them a lump of coal “INSTEAD OF THE PORSCHE 911 YOUR FOLKS PROMISED YOU!!!!”

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1

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