Johnston County school board settles with Clayton principal Dr. Bennett Jones

— The Johnston County School Board voted by a five to two margin Wednesday to settle with Clayton High School principal Dr. Bennett Jones for a sum of $53,190.

Jones was removed as Clayton’s principal in the summer of 2019 as Johnston County Schools investigated Clayton in a probe that originally surrounded the eligibility of a single football player, but later expanded into a bigger investigation after the school district sent an anonymous survey to the school’s faculty asking for tips into any other wrongdoing.

After Jones’ removal, the Clayton community showed widespread support for the principal. On August 22, a protest was held in support of reinstating Jones as principal.

Four days later, a group of Clayton parents set a letter to the board requesting a meeting to discuss Jones’ removal.

Jones filed a grievance with the district in July, questioning the professionalism of the investigation. In early August, then-Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow transferred Jones from Clayton to the Choice Select program in the district, an alternative school. Jones updated his grievance after that transfer, specifically outlining unfair treatment by Renfrow.

Two weeks later, Renfrow suddenly announced his retirement after a special closed session meeting with the board of education. Dr. Jim Causby was named the interim superintendent.

Causby met multiple times with Jones, and eventually announced that Jones would be returning as Clayton’s principal. On October 14, that became a reality.

“I am excited to resume my duties as principal of Clayton High School. There is no doubt that the past weeks and months have been difficult for the Clayton High School students, staff, administration, and community,” Jones said in a written statement that day. “Throughout these four months, CHS students and staff have faced speculation and scrutiny, yet this school and this community have stood together, resolved in that we will continued to do what is best for all students.”

Published at Wed, 24 Jun 2020 16:48:42 +0000