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Principal suspended, board members won't say why

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TIFTON, GA (WALB) -

The Tift County School Board voted Tuesday night to place the former principal of the high school on administrative leave, but they wouldn't tell us why.

Dr. Ryan Gravitt was reassigned last week. Board members had a lengthy meeting in executive session Tuesday night after which they approved a recommendation to place Gravitt on leave.

A group of Tift County High students were at the meeting to support him. One of them told us,"We're out here to support him because we think that he was doing a good job. We don't know the reasons really, but they didn't handle it very good. It was on such short notice. They could have did it better. I think he was a really good principal, and we all just really want him back."

None of the board members nor the school board attorney would talk to us tonight about the decision.

Dr. Gravitt wouldn't talk to us either, but he did hand out this statement:

"Let me begin by saying that my family is overwhelmed by the hundreds of calls, letters, and messages that we have received in the last two days. This community has become an extension of my family and the outreach of support that we have received has helped heal our hearts to say the least. As most of you know by now, I was relieved of my duties as the principal of Tift County High School on Wednesday morning. This was a total shock to me. I feel the need to make this statement now in order to save my reputation from the rumor mill within this community. I was told by the Superintendent of schools, Mr. Patrick Atwater, that he had lost faith in my ability to lead TCHS instructionally. He assured me that I have done nothing wrong, I have not been accused of doing anything wrong, and that I am not being investigated for any wrong doing. He simply felt like it was time to make this change for instructional reasons only. While I feel like I have been treated unfairly and portrayed as a criminal in the way that this was handled, I understand fully that the Superintendent has the right to make that recommendation to the Tift County Board of Education and he did so this past Tuesday evening. I have been reassigned other duties, to be determined, within our system where hopefully I will be able to continue to use my talents to serve the students of Tift County and this community just as I have for the past 22 years.

Sincerely,

Dr. Ryan Gravitt"