Loyd Star Assistant Principal Billy Vaughn announces intentions to retire

Published 7:45 am Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The assistant principal at Loyd Star Attendance Center Tuesday turned in a letter announcing his intention to retire.

“After 33 years as teacher, coach and administrator with the Lincoln County School District, I am retiring,” Vaughn wrote in a letter he gave to Lincoln County School Superintendent Mickey Myers Tuesday.

The letter comes on the heels of accusations by parents that an unofficial Twitter account he created in 2012 — according to the account’s profile page — had “liked” pornographic posts, which allowed the images and videos to be viewed by the parents’ teenage daughter and others who looked at the “Loyd Star Act./Ath” Twitter feed. The Twitter account was a source for sports scores and school news.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Vaughn was placed on administrative leave with pay by Myers Feb. 3 through 21.

The Twitter account has been deleted.

Myers said documents have been submitted to the Mississippi Department of Education and to an information technology forensics network for verification.

The pornographic posts were dated in 2014, 2015 and 2016. During those years, Vaughn served as assistant principal and also athletic director and PE instructor.

“As you may be aware, some inappropriate posts appeared on a Twitter page that I created to provide Loyd Star sports and activity updates to the community,” he wrote. “I can assure you that I did not cause these posts to appear on the page and that I did not ‘like’ the posts. I have been and remain in contact with Twitter and an IT professional in an effort to ascertain the source of the offensive material. Although the details and circumstances are consistent with cases of Twitter hacks, we have not yet definitely determined the source.

“I am persevering with my effort to determine whether the offensive posts were the result of a hack or some other unauthorized access to my Twitter account; however, in an effort to do what is in the best interest of the school district and Loyd Star, I have decided to retire.

“I am eternally grateful to the majority of you who have been supportive of me throughout this ordeal. At the same time, being the father of two daughters, I am sensitive to the concerns of those of you who are uncomfortable with me remaining in my position. That is a consequence that I accept for not doing a better job of maintaining the security of my Twitter account.”

In the letter, Vaughn urges those in the community to “take seriously the security” of email, Twitter, Facebook and other social media accounts. “I further urge the school district to take a close look at how to heighten cyber security to avoid future incidents,” he said.

Vaughn expressed gratitude for spending his 33-year career in Lincoln County and for the past 13 years at his “beloved alma mater, Loyd Star Attendance Center.”

“My prayers have been and will continue to be that God will be glorified in this trial and in all other trials that we will face,” he wrote.

Vaughn said he is weighing his options with the Public Employee’ Retirement System to determine if his retirement should be effective immediately or at the end of the school year. “Either way, I will no longer be performing my duties at Loyd Star Attendance Center,” he said.

The Lincoln County School Board met Tuesday night and following an executive session, voted unanimously to accept Vaughn’s letter.

Myers said MDE and forensics experts will continue their investigation into possible hacks of the account.