PERRY -- The Houston County school board made a change in administration at Huntington Middle School Tuesday, more than a month after parents questioned how a gun episode there had been handled.
During a called meeting, the board named Ernest Harvey as assistant principal for discipline at Huntington. He will replace Brenda Lee, who was transferred to a position at Warner Robins Middle School.
While Superintendent Mark Scott stressed that he wanted to keep personnel issues as private as possible, he confirmed that the move was at least partly related to the gun incident.
“I think it’s obvious that it does have something to do with that,” he said. “We feel like this is the best for everybody involved.”
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Harvey previously held a similar position at Tucker and Morningside elementary schools.
“Mr. Harvey will be a good role model for the students” at Huntington, Scott said. “He’s very professional.”
Lee received word on Aug. 14, a Friday, that a student had been seen with a gun on campus that day. She didn’t call police until Monday, however, a move that drew criticism from parents.
Scott said Lee was handling the decision to transfer her to another school well, and that student safety remains a top priority for the school system.
“She’s a very professional person, and she’s still an asset to this district,” he said.
The move was not well received by parent Aaron Drake, who has a daughter at Huntington. Saying that principal Gwendolyn Taylor told him she’d also known about the gun on Friday, Drake said he was “stumped” that only one administrator was moved -- and that no one lost a job over it.
“I’m happy that she’s not in the school,” Drake said of Lee. “I’m stunned and sickened that she’s in any school in the area.”
He saw the change as one meant to sweep the issue “under the rug” and silence parent complaints.
At the meeting, the board also selected underwriters and legal counsel for potential bonds related to future 1-cent sales tax efforts. Raymond James was selected as underwriter, Blake Sharpton will handle the legal aspects of the actual bond process, and Billy Jerles will continue to represent the board’s legal interests.
While no final plans have been made for an extension of the current ESPLOST, projects could include a new elementary school and renovations at existing schools, said Stephen Thublin, assistant superintendent for finance and school operations.
“As we looked at some of the projects, we expect that bonds would be issued,” he said.
To contact writer Jeremy Timmerman, call 744-4331 or find him on Twitter@MTJTimm.