ALGIERS, LA (WVUE) - A picture is a snapshot in time, and a picture of Crescent Leadership Academy Principal Nicholas Dean could potentially cost him his career and livelihood.
Early Friday morning, someone took a picture of Dean at the foot of what used to be the Robert E. Lee Monument at Lee Circle. In the photo, Dean is surrounded by what appears to be Confederate-era monument supporters.
The picture was posted to Facebook on Sunday accusing Dean of being a "white supremacist." On Monday, Dean was escorted off campus and placed under review by the school's superintendent, Tracy Bennett-Joseph.
The Algiers school caters to a predominantly African-American student base and is an alternative school in Orleans Parish. During his time as principal, Dean earned recognition and high praise for his work with at-risk youth.
Dean was not available for an interview Tuesday, but he insisted he was not there that night to show support but to "witness history" and he "didn't go there to protest."
Dean released the following statement:
"I'm dedicated to working with kids that are falling through the cracks. I help to keep them out of the justice system, help them become first generation graduates, help them get into post secondary education. I wish a quarter of the energy being put on me was being used to pick up that kid that's wandering around the neighborhood that needs help. I know that I'm doing my part in this fight."
Bennett-Joseph also released a statement:
"Our school has a long-standing commitment to providing quality education to New Orleans youth and working as a partner to parent and the community. As a member of this community, we value diversity and inclusiveness, and do not support divisive rhetoric or actions. The circumstances surrounding the photograph are under review. We cannot further comment on individual employee issues."
FOX 8 looked through our video from the night the picture was taken. We could not find Dean, but we did find those he was standing near when the picture was taken. In that group, there are several supporters for both sides of the issue gathered side-by-side and in a large crowd.
FOX 8 also reached out to the man whose Facebook page the initial accusation against Dean was posted. We attempted to get Torrence Taylor via text, phone call and at his house, but he never responded.