Saturday, October 01, 2005

Red Ribbon Weak

It's worth asking: Would your school board be this gentle if one of its longtime overworked, lonely teachers had "a dependency problem"?

Maybe there's hope for the least of us.

DUI Charges Filed Against Superintendent
CHECKPOINT: Susan J. Rainey was arrested on I-215 after having dinner with neighbors.

08:05 AM PDT on Wednesday, September 28, 2005
By SARAH BURGE / The Press-Enterprise

Misdemeanor DUI charges have been filed against Susan J. Rainey, 58, superintendent of the Riverside Unified School District, following a Labor Day weekend traffic stop on Interstate 215.

Officer Ron Thatcher, of the California Highway Patrol, said the drunken driving charges were filed with Riverside County's Southwest Justice Center on Friday.

Thatcher said Rainey was stopped about 10 p.m. Sept. 2 while driving south on I-215 south of Newport Road, and arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Attempts to reach Rainey on Tuesday by phone were unsuccessful. Riverside Unified board president Maxine Frost said Rainey decided to take 30 days leave. Frost said the superintendent is getting professional help for a "dependency problem." Frost said the board supports Rainey's decision and praised the work she has done as superintendent.

"We're looking forward to her return in October," Frost said.

In the meantime, Frost said, Deputy Superintendent Michael Fine will be the acting superintendent. Frost said Rainey was stopped at a sobriety checkpoint that diverted all of the southbound freeway traffic. Rainey was on her way to her vacation home in Oceanside after having dinner with her neighbors, Frost said.

"She said it was a bad decision and she shouldn't have done it," Frost said. "She's been alone," Frost said, pointing out that Rainey's husband died recently.

"She's been working especially hard in the last year," Frost said. "Too hard."

Rainey is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 7.

**Reach Sarah Burge at (951) 368-9642 or

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