Teacher involved in paddling named interim principal

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Decatur County Board of Education voted to approve the June personnel packet at the June 16 meeting in a 4-1 vote following a closed executive session to discuss personnel. Keith Lyle cast the lone dissenting vote.

“I agreed with the recommendations in the personnel packet with the exception of one, however, the motion was to approve the entire packet,” Lyle said. “Since I didn’t agree with one of the recommendations, I was compelled to vote against approving the entire packet.”

Included in the packet was the naming of Jeanette Grimsley as the interim principal at Potter Street Elementary.

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The school board suspended Grimsley in February 2009 following an investigation into a paddling incident at Potter Street. Grimsley paddled a 9-year-old student three times in one day, according to an incident report filed by the child’s mother following the event.

The paddling allegedly left noticeable bruising on the child. Grimsley was suspended 10-days without pay, prohibited from using corporal punishment while employed by Decatur County Schools and required to attend training on alternative disciplinary procedures.

According to board chairman Sydney Cochran, Grimsley has had a spotless record since the incident.

“Basically, we went through appropriate procedures for selecting a principal and she was the one recommended by the committee,” Cochran said. “In regard to the incident it was seven years ago and Mrs. Grimsley has had no issues since that time.”

Board member Bobby Barber said that he weighed Grimsley’s past when making the decision, but that it didn’t affect his vote.

“Was it on my mind? Yes. Did it affect my decision? No, because I agreed with the hire,” he said. “She did have a mistake seven years ago, but she’s had seven years of good evaluations and good performance and I didn’t feel it was necessary to hold something from seven years ago against her.”

Jacky Grubbs said that he was in favor of the hire “as long as we followed the right policy and the right procedure.”

Kelvin Bouie, who was not on the board in 2009, said that he did his research before voting and he felt that because Grimsley had been cleared by the Performance Standards Commission that the previous incident shouldn’t be held against her in the new position.

Grimsley declined to comment for this story. She will assume the role of interim principal on July 18.


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