Marberry letter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Letter to the editor

Clarification needed in principal firing

The article in Friday’s edition [“Parents learn principal removed at junior high,” Jan. 25, 2008] concerning the suspension or termination of Mr. Darrel Tucker, principal of Batesville Junior High School could use some clarifications.

Mr. Tucker, having been charged by some few individuals, as having used the “n” word over the intercom system while making an announcement. This, as would be expected, brought about a complete and thorough investigation by Dr. Keith Shaffer, school superintendent. After interviewing several dozen people, Dr. Shaffer decided that the accusation was untrue.

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After the announcement of Dr. Shaffer’s findings, other charges were made by some of the parents of the students. The nature of these charges was not revealed in the newspaper.

The Panolian reported the majority of the people present were African-Americans and some of those complaining used the dreaded “n” word freely. Some of these same people stated they previously had some “issues” with Mr. Tucker. The nature of these accusations was not published in the Panolian.

It would have been interesting to hear Mr. Tucker’s response to those charges and accusations, but he was absent from the meeting. His absence being at the request of his boss, Dr. Keith Shaffer. The accused did not get to meet his accusers. Strange. If Mr.  Tucker was not guilty of using the aforementioned “n” word, why was he suspended or terminated?

I do not know if these “new and improved” charges were genuine or not. Perhaps if Mr. Tucker had been present he could have shed some light on the questions. I do know this: some could perceive the chain of events to be a reaction of some very angry parents and others who did not believe in Mr. Tucker’s innocence.

It could easily be viewed by some as a sort of piling on with other charges when the original did not pass the smell test.

The conflict raised by Trustee Cooley concerning the dispute about use of the school facility is somewhat disturbing. Rev. Zannie Leland had requested a room in a school building for a weekend MLK festival.

Trustee Cooley wanted the Cheer Leader practice, previously scheduled, cancelled to accommodate Rev. Leland’s MLK festival. Apparently, the request was denied. Cooley said he wished Tucker had been a little more considerate. Considerate to whom? Rev. Leland or the cheerleaders?

Mr. Tucker made a decision, as was his obligation and his job. That’s what a boss does. He makes decisions. If Trustee Cooley or Rev. Leland want to make decisions for Batesville Junior High School, then they must get the appropriate degrees and apply for a job leading to appointment as a principal of the school. Actually, it’s a very simple concept. Get the job and make the decisions.

One final comment and it is most bothersome to me. It is Dr. Shaffer’s statement to Rev. Leland, “I assure you it will not be a problem in the future.” As I said, it’s bothersome.

/s/Ben Marberry