Marlboro County school district leaders address allegations of high school layoffs and student walkouts
MARLBORO COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The Acting Superintendent and School Board Chair of the Marlboro County School District has addressed allegations that administrators at Marlboro County High School were fired.
The allegations led to a student strike Tuesday morning at the high school.
“The Marlboro County School District understands and values the value of our community’s voices, especially those of our students, and supports their First Amendment rights,” Acting Superintendent Donald Andrews said. “To that end, the District takes this opportunity to clarify matters regarding the staffing allegations to the extent possible with respect to confidential personnel information.
Andrews said the administration did not fire any administrators from Marlboro High School.
Jack Branch, chairman of the school district’s board of trustees, added that any layoffs of certified staff, including trustees, must be confirmed by the board in accordance with state law.
“Rest assured that the board has not voted on the termination of directors at this time and would only do so if such an option was presented to it by the acting superintendent as part of its day-to-day business,” Branch said.
The acting superintendent said in his statement that plans are being considered for the 2022-23 school year, which could include personnel changes.
WMBF News contacted Marlboro County High School Principal Dr. Jamane Watson after the statements were published. Watson, who has served as the high school principal since July 2020, said he was told he would not be returning next year as the school’s principal.
“I was told during my meeting with Mr. Andrews that I would not be offered a contract as Principal of Marlboro County Secondary School for the 2022-2023 school year,” Watson said in an email.
He added that the reason given by Andrews was that the district was heading in a different direction.
Watson also pointed out that her primary position was already posted on job boards.
WMBF News checked the Marlboro County School District’s job page, and as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, it shows there is a job opening for the position of principal at Marlboro County High School. Marlboro. It was released on Monday.
The school board president said community members are encouraged to voice their concerns about any changes at school board meetings.
“The Council provides time outside of classroom instruction at its public meetings to comment on matters that are legally permitted to be discussed in a public forum,” Brand said. “Students, parents and members of the community are welcome and encouraged to appear before the council.”
Below are full statements from the Acting Superintendent and the School Board Chair:
On the morning of February 15, students walked out of Marlboro High School to express concern over allegations that Marlboro High School administrators were being fired. The Marlboro County School District understands and values the value of our community’s voices, especially those of our students, and supports their First Amendment rights. We are here to serve our students and their best interests, and our top priority is their education and safety. My staff and I encourage our children to speak up and speak out as we balance day-to-day operational decisions, including keeping our students engaged and in the classroom. To that end, the District takes this opportunity to clarify matters regarding staffing allegations to the extent possible with respect to confidential personal information.
To be clear, the administration has not fired any administrators from Marlboro High School. Any information contrary to this fact is not accurate and is not supported by the administration. As plans are under consideration for the 2022-23 school year, staffing positions, among others, can be seen as the district experiences change and growth as we move forward together. Again, our top priority is our students, their families, and our employees. I look forward to speaking to our community when the time is right and encourage our students to contact my office directly with any comments, ideas or concerns, as I maintain an open door policy for everyone.
Respectfully, Donald E. Andrews
This morning, students at Marlboro High School went on strike to voice their concerns to staff. The board and district understand and respect the opinions of our students and their First Amendment rights to have their voices heard, which is an important cornerstone of American freedom. With this in mind, the board is committed to ensuring a top quality curriculum and a safe environment for our children, which is our primary goal. In this sense, the Board provides time outside of classroom instruction at its public meetings to comment on issues that it is legally permitted to address in a public forum. Students, parents and members of the community are welcome and encouraged to appear before the council.
We want the public to know that terminations of certified personnel, including directors, must be confirmed by the Board in accordance with state law. Rest assured that the Board has not voted on director terminations at this time and would only do so if such an option was presented to it by the Acting Superintendent as he runs day-to-day operations. As with all change and growth, we all have new ideas and visions, and the board is committed to moving forward in a positive direction. We look forward to engaging in dialogue with our administration and the public as we plan for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year and beyond.
With many thanks, Jackie Branch
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