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CUTHBERT, GA (WALB) - A south Georgia school superintendent and board chairman are going to jail for ignoring a judge's order to listen to other school board members.
Superior Court Judge Kevin Chason found Randolph County superintendent Bobby Jenkins and school board chairman Henry Cook in contempt of court and sentenced them to four days in jail.
Over 50 people filled the courtroom, and everyone was shocked, on both sides.
It seems as though no one, especially the attorneys expected the judge to sentence the superintendent and the chairman to four days in the slammer. But that's exactly what he did. On August 10th they two are to report to the Randolph county jail at 8am sharp.
The crowd sat divided, half backing superintendent Bobby Jenkins and chairman Henry Cook.
The other half siding with Randolph county school board members Don Smith, Dymple McDonald, and James Mock.
The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether or not the Superintendent and the Chairman were in contempt of court.
"All my clients want to do is be able to put things on the agenda and have them voted on. And if majority votes the superintendent should be obligated to carry it out," said school board attorney Tommy Coleman.
But board members say that wasn't happening. On June 16th Judge Chason issued a court order, ordering the two men to change their ways, let majority rule, and give board members their rights.
Today, a video of June 30th's meeting, held after the initial court order, shows Chairman Cook and board member Don Smith arguing. Chairman Cook wouldn't allow board members to bring up items they wanted on the agenda.
After watching the video and listening to hours of testimony the judge decided that Jenkins and Cook were in contempt of court. Now they'll spend 4 days in jail.
Something Commissioner Charles Simmons is happy about.
"I'd just really like to see integrity restored in this county and the school system," he said.
"It seems there has been a set up since day one that the board members took office," said Randolph county parent Santee Archer. She gives Jenkins and Cook her full support. She feels board members wanted the superintendent fired from day one.
"The board has a racist agenda and that is to get rid of Cook and Jenkins. If the two men were white we wouldn't have this problem," said Jenkins and Cook's attorney Maurice King.
And the issue of race was brought of countless times during the hearing by the Plantiffs attorney Maurice King and even by Mr. Cook when he referred to the defendent's attorney Tommy Coleman, as a racist.
"I think it's an issue of white control," said King.
Teachers said that even before the ruling the whole controversy has already brought down the morale of teachers and the administration, and it's likely it will have an effect on the students too.
Jenkins has been superintendent for 12 and a half years. Cook has been on the board for 16 years.
The majority of the school board members were elected within the past year.
A hearing on the board's request to fire the superintendent is set for next month.
Click HERE to read the judge's June 16th court order