Baker Co. school attorney refutes complaints -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Baker Co. school attorney refutes complaints

Shirley Sherrod Shirley Sherrod
Attorney Tommy Coleman Attorney Tommy Coleman

A Baker County group accuses the board and Baker County Elementary and High school principal of condoning racism after two teachers were fired for leading students in a protest inside the school.

Attorney Tommy Coleman says the board's decision not to renew the contracts of the tenured teachers was in accordance with school policy. And he says race had nothing to do with the decision to let the teachers go.

Protesters sang old civil rights song in front of the County elementary and high school. The Baker County Community Council disagrees with the way the school board is handling operations and called for the removal of the principal during a news conference Tuesday.

The controversy was sparked when two teachers accused of leading demonstrations through the school were let go.

But the County attorney says the board followed the law. "They were chanting 'Boo Dr. Choate! Boo Dr. Shoal Choate!' He was the principal, and that's clearly contrary to any rules for good operations of school. It violates the school board's policy, and it grounds for non-renewal," said Tommy Coleman, Baker County School Board Attorney.

But the council says the principal has practiced racism and created a hostile work environment. "There are teachers in there afraid to even talk to each other, 'cause he tells them this is his school, and he doesn't need the community to run it. This is his!" said Shirley Sherrod, of the Baker Co. Community Council.

Coleman says the school board is not making decisions based on race. "I don't care if one is black or white, or other nationality or religion, you can not disrupt the school, and that's what the facts will show."

He says the teachers were given proper notice of their termination, and will be given due process in front of the school board. "I think the prudent thing for the community to do is take a deep breath and follow the process. And we'll get to the bottom of the facts."

Coleman says everyone's rights will be respected during any hearings or appeals. Jordan says she'll stand outside to guard her children's schools herself if there are no SRO officers next school year.


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