Parent Reacts To Principal’s Move

GoFundMe Pages Set Up To Support Principal, Student

The parent of a Harnett Central High School student who was asked to take off a shirt with President Donald Trump’s name on it says he is not satisfied with the Harnett County School Board’s response.

The school board moved Cindy Gordon from the principal’s position at Harnett Central High School to a position at the central office. Mrs. Gordon maintained her same salary of $94,562, according to Harnett County Schools officials.

She replaced a retiring employee who was making $90,190 at the time of her retirement.

Mrs. Gordon asked student Matthew Collins to remove a patriotic shirt with President Trump’s name on the back of it at a football game. Matthew chose, instead, to leave the game.

The school board announced personnel changes Oct. 12th that included the replacement of Mrs. Gordon at Harnett Central. On Oct. 16th, Harnett County Schools Public Information Officer Natalie Ferrell said Mrs. Gordon is now working at the central office in the position of director of student information and data.

The response was not enough for parent Michael Collins.

“It was disappointing Mrs. Gordon was shuffled to a different spot with essentially no discipline,” Mr. Collins said in a statement. “She was given a director’s pension with better hours and same pay.”

Mr. Collins said his son is still waiting for an apology. Mrs. Gordon, Superintendent Dr. Aaron Fleming and School Board Chairman Bill Morris called Mr. Collins and apologized to him for the incident.

“For my family, we receive a ton of support every day, but my son has not yet received an apology from Mrs. Gordon or from anyone on the school board and we have mounting legal fees,” Mr. Collins said in his response.

“It’s obvious the principal will be taken care of and I respect the school board’s decision, but I do feel my son’s rights were clearly violated and are important,” Mr. Collins said.

He also said more needs to be done to inform educators.

“Principals have a difficult job keeping order on high school campuses in this day and age. If they aren’t being equipped with a working knowledge of First Amendment basics, our state is setting them up to fail. Administrators are flunking the free-speech test because our state’s educational bureaucracy is failing them. To support students and simultaneously stand behind our overworked teachers and principals, we must hold the legislature and N.C. Department of Public Instruction responsible for safeguarding student’s expressive rights.”

Harnett County Schools officials have said they cannot comment further on the case because of personnel laws.

Both sides of the issues have GoFundMe pages to help with expenses. One page was established by staff members at Harnett Central to support Mrs. Gordon. Another page, established by a group in Lillington, is raising money to help the Collins family.

-The Daily Record