New Dougherty County School Superintendent Joshua Murfree and school board members say they believe in and stand behind teachers and principals. But they don’t believe there was tampering with standardized tests, though that is now the focus of a state investigation.
If those leaders are so proud to support employees, why did they hang the school police chief out to dry?
Chief Troy Conley wanted to fire Officer Keith Frazier for several problems. He says Frazier failed to report two possible gang-related incidents at Merry Acres Middle School, including information from a bus driver who said he saw a student with a gun.
Frazier was also accused of leaving campus without permission during work hours.
When it came time to vote on Frazier’s termination, board member Milton Griffin voted “no.” James Bush, Velvet Riggins, and Anita Williams Brown didn’t even have the guts to vote. They abstained, meaning Frazier kept his job.
Then-Superintendent Sally Whatley suspended him for 35 days, but when Dr. Murfree took over, he immediately reduced the suspension to 15 days.
That undermines Chief Conley’s authority. It wasn’t a smart decision, and it certainly isn’t an example of standing behind a good employee.
Grand jury’s advice should be heeded
The Dougherty County Grand Jury recently offered some very common sense suggestions to local leaders. They encouraged the use of banishment for repeat offenders. They said rather than our paying to lock them up, we should lock them out, of our county. This led their list of what we think are some very good ideas.
They also recommended an increased use of electronic home monitors, saying, house arrest for nonviolent offenders will save taxpayer’s money. The offenders use their own utilities and pay for their own medical care.
The grand jurors say those in jail should be used more on county work details, rather than using the higher paid County employees As a deterrent to crime, they ask mandatory jail tours, for all school students, 5th grade and higher.
They want enforcement of curfew laws for teen from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday thru Friday, and 11 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.
We agree with this grand jury, a representative group from our community, and call on our local leaders to follow their recommendations.
Written by Jim Wilcox, general manager of WALB.