- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

A day after refusing to clarify his status, the Greenville school board definitively said Friday that it’s firing its superintendent immediately.

The lawyer for the school board issued a statement Friday saying board members have turned down Leeson Taylor’s appeal and upheld its decision to fire him.

“The board believes that new leadership is a necessary step to move the district forward,” the statement from school board lawyer Dorian Turner said.

Thursday, Turner had refused to state the outcome of the appeal, while school board President Loretta Shannon denied that an Oct. 31 letter sent to Taylor actually fired him.

Taylor had been on paid leave since Oct. 13, after a video emerged of a teacher dragging a special education student by the hair across the gym floor of Greenville High School. Linda Winters-Johnson, the teacher, was fired, indicted on a misdemeanor charge and could lose her teaching license.

“Recent events and publicity surrounding an incident where a district teacher dragged a student by the hair have raised concerns among the public about the district’s ability to properly safeguard students,” Friday’s statement said.

Taylor’s lawyer, Brandon Dorsey, denied Shannon’s earlier statement that Taylor failed to adequately inform board members or Turner of the severity of the dragging incident.

“They want to give the impression they weren’t aware of this until the video went viral,” Dorsey told The Associated Press. “That’s just not true.”

Dorsey reiterated that Taylor was likely to sue the school board.

The board’s letter also cited the district’s F score in Mississippi’s school rating system. The state could take over the district indefinitely if it’s rated F again after this school year.

Turner said the board will now seek a new superintendent.

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Follow Jeff Amy at: https://twitter.com/jeffamy. Read his work at https://www.apnews.com/search/Jeff%20Amy.


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