After several weeks of accusations being thrown at Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter, Superintendent Gary Mathews addressed the issue following an hour-long executive session at Tuesday night's work session.
After an extensive meeting, the board went into a second executive session around 9:30 p.m. to discuss personnel matters. After about an hour they unanimously agreed to accept recommendations made by Mathews, with the exception of two they had talked about which were not made public.
In a letter written by Mathews and disseminated to media and school system employees, he addresses both the lawsuit filed by Carpenter and the accusations made against her and her husband, Deputy Superintendent of Operations Dennis Carpenter by anonymous bloggers on The Newton Citizen's website.
"...From my perspective, respecting all others who might dissent from my own view, I do not believe our community - nor a sense of what is right, good and honorable - is well served by anonymous assertions that cast dispersion and derision towards school officials without an overt factual basis," Mathews said in his letter.
Mathews also addressed the accusations made against Carpenter that she purchased alcohol on a school trip and that there were missing funds at the school, saying that no one had lodged a complaint in his office. He went on to say that school financial records are audited annually by an outside agent and to date, no missing funds had been brought to his attention, nor had Carpenter, when asked directly, admitted to either claim.
Several of the bloggers have also made claims that AHS is out of control. Mathews addressed that as well, saying that since he arrived in Newton County two years ago he has made "dozens" of trips to the school - both planned and unannounced - and that he had never witnessed the atmosphere described by some on the blogs.
"Nonetheless, like other schools in Newton County and elsewhere, there have been food fights, fist fights and other misbehavior by a very small contingency of students, who seem to forget what school is for and the kind of civil conduct that school demands," he wrote.
"I have always respected the right of citizens and employees to speak their mind and have always encouraged this as a school leader," Mathews said. "It is the way I have conducted budget reduction hearings, leadership team meetings and teacher forums. Those who know my leadership style, know that I encourage debate of educational issues. We learn more from each other through such dialogue. That said, there may be a proberbial line that even anonymous bloggers should not cross for the sake of civility and what's moral under God's creation."
Mathews ended by saying he believed the legal process would have to run its course to determine what was right in this case.