Simpson County Board Plans to Discuss Public Forum

After allegations of discrimination in the Simpson County School System surfaced at a public forum last Friday, the school board now plans on taking action.

Lonnie Winston is a former teacher at Franklin-Simpson Middle School who discussed his concern about having to reapply for his own job and then didn't get it back.

Superintendent Jim Flynn says there were four teachers at the Middle School who did not have their contracts renewed. He says Winston's was not renewed because he did not meet the certification requirements for the next school year.

Flynn said Winston was told that when he met the requirements he could reapply for his job, but there were no guarantees.

Winston reapplied, but did not get his job back.

Superintendent Flynn says he reviewed the process the principal and school council followed and says he didn't see any unfair treatment or discrimination.

The school board's attorney has also been asked to review the case.
Now the school board is tackling certain issues that will hopefully dissolve the issue.

At the next meeting, Superintendent Flynn will discuss forming an advisory committee.

He says the committee will, "Begin one identifying more clearly and defining more clearly what really are the issues; what's the heart of the issues?"

Superintendent Flynn says he wants to develop specific action plans to address the community's concerns and come up with solutions.

Flynn says: "First and foremost was the issue around fairness, you know, the community wants to know that our students are going to be treated fairly in the school system, its staff are going to be treated fairly in the school system and I support that 100 percent."

Flynn says another issue that came up in the forum was minority student under achievement. Flynn says: "The way I look at it is any student under achievement must be addressed."

The third issue the board will look at is maintaining and recruiting qualified minority staff members.

Flynn says the board will discuss all of these issues at the meeting and they welcome comments and suggestions from the public.

Reverend Louis Coleman says he will hold a prayer vigil Thursday, July 27 at 5:00 at the Simpson County Board of Education. He says the vigil is for Lonnie Winston and Dr. Kenneth Jackson, the former principal at Franklin-Simpson High who recently resigned.

The Simpson County School Board plans to meet Thursday July 27 at 7:00 at the Central Office Board Room.

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