Hempstead School Board ordered to reinstate ousted member

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HEMPSTEAD -

An ousted Hempstead School Board member has been reinstated by order of the state.

Five months after his ouster, the state Department of Education has reinstated Trustee Lamont Johnson following an appeal.

Johnson was removed in July after school board members accused him of disclosing names and addresses of board members, in violation of policy.

Now, a 21-page report from the DOE has reinstated Johnson and removed his replacement, Mary Crosson.

Johnson got the news just hours before he was to be sworn back in.

"I was very happy, I was very relieved to get the news," he says. "It's been a long time, five months, and I'm ready to serve the students of Hempstead."

Johnson's supporters are happy to see his return, but not everyone is welcoming him back with open arms -- including the board members who voted for his removal.

Board President Maribel Toure says she was "devastated" and "very disappointed" by the order because she believes Johnson acted inappropriately and fears he could thwart the board's progress.

"We are complying with commissioner's ruling, but we don't think it's best for the students," Toure says.

However, Johnson says he's ready to move forward.

"I have no ill feelings against anyone, I just want to work for the students," he says.

Both Johnson and Toure admit there is much work to be done in the school district. Both say improving graduation rates is a top priority and that they are willing to work together on behalf of the students.

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