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Board questioned about principal’s resignation

A number of West Lincoln parents and students are questioningthe actions of the Lincoln County School Board concerning thealleged forced resignation of principal Monty Wilson.

“As parents we just feel real concerned about everything we’veheard, because we have not seen anything on a day-to-day basis thatwarrants this,” said Tammy Laird, one of the parents who met withthe school board Monday night.

During the 10 minutes Laird was allotted to speak, shequestioned whether board members had any specific reasons into”forcing” Wilson to resign last week, and if there was aninvestigation into the reasons Wilson resigned. His resignationwill be effective May 1.

Board members followed Superintendent Perry Miller’s lead andrefused to comment on the situation.

“I am not at liberty to discuss personnel matters,” Miller saidat least three times, citing a lawyer’s advice.

During the meeting, Laird stated that Wilson’s resignation cameafter a teacher, who has connections to the board, influenced atleast four other teachers at the school to talk poorly of Wilsonand try to get him fired. They allegedly did not like how strictWilson was with the work he required of teachers.

In a phone call to Wilson Monday night, he said his resignationwas a result of the disruption in harmony that the controversycaused. He said he likes the West Lincoln area and did not wantparents, teachers and students taking sides. Wilson said he wouldrather “keep the peace” by quietly leaving the school at the end ofthe year.

When asked if he ever had a difference of opinion with theteachers, Wilson cited one minor incident that was quickly amendedafter the teacher spoke with him about it.

Wilson came to West Lincoln Attendance Center last year withalmost 30 years of experience in teaching, coaching andadministration. Before coming to Lincoln County, he had mostlyrecently been middle school principal in Crystal Springs.

Laird said a large group of West Lincoln parents, teachers andstudents believe his resignation was not fair because only a smallnumber of people wanted Wilson to leave. She and the 11 other WestLincoln representatives presented a petition in Wilson’s support tothe board last night. They were able to obtain 201 signatures in 24hours.

“We want to know why this man is being asked to leave if thismany people don’t want him to,” said Laird, the spokeswoman for thegroup.

Wilson stated he was unaware of the attempt to keep him at WestLincoln until this weekend. He was glad to see so many members ofthe community pulling together.

“I am proud of the people in this community and the way they’vestood up for me and for the school,” said Wilson.

Two West Lincoln seniors opted to attend the board meeting lastnight. One spoke to the board about the positive effects Wilson hadon the school and its students, especially showing support afterthe tragic death of a West Lincoln student a few months ago.

“I was at Mr. Wilson’s house at one in the morning . . . and helet me cry on his shoulder,” said Brice McWilliams.

The group of parents and students told the board they did notbelieve this matter was resolved just because of Wilson’sresignation.

“I don’t know if this will stop here. We intend to go further,”said Laird, mentioning that legal advice had already beensought.

Laird finished the presentation by relaying a message from WestLincoln residents who were not present at the meeting.

“The same people who signed this are the same ones who backedyou when you were asked to leave,” she said to Miller, mentioningan incident a few years ago when Miller was the West Lincolnprincipal.

Miller did not respond to the statement.

Following the parents’ remarks, board members continued withtheir agenda, which included a short list of routine matters.

Board members approved an action that would help with somefunding in the district. They decided the district could join astatewide consortium of school districts for the purpose ofaccessing a federal funding stream available to public schools.

The Medicaid Administrative Claiming program would allow somepositions, such as school nurses, to be paid with federalfunds.

The next scheduled school board meeting will be held at 5:30p.m. March 5 in the school district’s central office on MonticelloStreet. The meeting will be open to the public.