School Board Chairman Issues Statement On Transfer Of Clayton High Principal

On Tuesday, a large crowd of Clayton High students and parents gathered at the Johnston County Board of Education meeting to show support for Principal Bennett Jones who was removed Monday from his position and transferred to a position at the Central Office.

“Bring him back. Bring him back. Bring him back,” the group chanted. Jones’ transfer was unexpected, unpopular and came without explanation, said Melissa Lines, the mother of two Clayton High School students who was among those who had gathered.

Friday afternoon, School Board Chairman Mike Wooten responded to complaints from parents and students about the sudden transfer.  In a prepared statement Mr. Wooten said, “State law and board policy give the superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools the authority to transfer school employees, including principals. JCPS Board Policy 5260 gives the superintendent the authority to transfer an employee from one position to another.”

Dozens of people came to the Johnston County school board meeting on Tuesday saying they wanted Bennett Jones back as principal of Clayton High School. Photo by Scott Bolejack

“The board has received questions about a recent transfer and the process for appealing that transfer.  The board and I have directed central office administration to expedite any pending transfer appeals under the process that our board policy sets out for all school employees to follow in such cases. This policy, JCPS Board Policy 5240, is designed to give all sides an opportunity to present and discuss the facts of each case and to present the board with the information it needs to make a decision that is in the best interest of students and the school system,” Chairman Wooten stated.

“Chase Ferrell has been assigned as interim principal at Clayton High School at this time. We ask our families and communities to work with us and the interim administration to focus on the school system’s mission of educating our young people within a safe and orderly educational environment.”

School officials have declined to comment whether Jones’ transfer was related to an investigation into allegations of grading fixing at Clayton High.  Jones is a former Principal of the Year.