Superintendent Supports Selma Middle Principal
At the request of Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow and School Board Chairman Mike Wooten, Johnston County School Board attorney Jimmy Lawrence has asked WTSB Radio and JoCoReport.com to turn over audio recordings and the names of confidential sources used in an April 25th news report.
The report included a secret audio recording of Selma Middle School Principal Chris Germanoksi at an April 20th teacher meeting reportedly ask teachers to only support the 3 incumbents running for the Johnston County Board of Education. Germanoksi said those incumbents support the JoCo 2020 initiative. The incumbents are Todd Sutton, Butler Hall and Vice Chairman Dorothy Johnson.
In a letter to WTSB News, School Board Attorney Jimmy Lawrence wrote, “At the direction of the Superintendent and Board Chairman of the Johnston County Board of Education, I am formally requesting a copy of the audio recording that you reference in your news article on April 25, 2018 concerning Principal Chris Germanoksi. The Superintendent is conducting a review of this situation in light of the fact that an employee allegedly secretly recorded other school personnel in violation of Policy 5112.”
“The Superintendent wishes to review all aspects of the article that was disseminated on your website, including any allegation of any illegalities as mentioned in the article.”
Lawrence said, “I am in complete agreement with Frayda Bluestein at the School of Government as to her opinion on any violation of any statutes. However, since you published what the State law supposedly says and the consequence of a violation being as Class 1 misdemeanor, the system feels compelled to review all aspects of the report.”
“As part of the school’s review of the actions of employees, it would be very helpful if you could not only supply the school system with a copy of your tape, but a copy of any individuals who made the tape or were present at the meeting,” the school board attorney wrote in his letter.
Mickey Lamm, Vice President of Lamm Media Group Inc. which owns WTSB Radio, said Monday they would not comply with the school systems request and will not turn over any document, audio recordings or the names of our sources.
Commissioner Expresses Disappointment
Johnston County Commissioner Larry Wood of Four Oaks said he was disappointed Johnston County Schools would use taxpayer money and resources to go after a school teacher who exposed the principal’s comments. Asked if he thought Germanoksi was in fact asking teachers to only support the 3 incumbents, Wood replied, “A spade is a spade.”
“I would have never expected anyone to do anything like that,” Commissioner Wood said. “I was not only shocked but also disappointed. Knowing all that I know, I can’t even believe anyone would do that, especially with all the whistleblower protection laws now in place. Who would try and go that route?”
“It is appalling. It is a backlash to that teacher. If they continue on it will be met with some disruption, you can believe that. It makes me mad,” Wood said. “I do not feel like anyone in a position of authority should be making those types of demands.”
Commissioner Wood’s wife works for Johnston County Public Schools.
Superintendent Supports Principal
Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow sent an unsigned letter to WTSB Radio on Thursday hand delivered by Chief of Communications Crystal Roberts.
“As a former American History teacher, I am highly passionate about citizenship transmission which is the modeling or demonstration of which it means to be a contributing member of our society,” Renfrow wrote. “Sadly, the perception exists that public educators are apathetic with regards to exercising their precious right to vote, and unfortunately this perception is reality.”
“With a primary coming in May and a fall election in November, I charged our principals with encouraging teammates at the school level to study the issues, question the candidates about their platform, and exercise their right to vote. At no time was there intent to advocate for or against candidates in any political contest.”
“Personally, I find it exciting and encouraging that we have eight candidates seeking three positions on our local JCPS Board of Education. This is validation of the great things happening in our public school system and the desire for folks to be a part of our journey.”
“I appreciate Chris Germanoski as the lead learner at Selma Middle school and support him. Chris did not willfully violate any policy issued by our JCPS Board of Education in encouraging people to exercise their right to vote. I do not care who you vote for but do hope you all will exercise this most invaluable right.”
WTSB News attempted to reach Germanoksi several times last week for an interview. He never returned any of our phone calls.