Board members Ronnie Broughton and Bruce Williams questioned the recommendations, citing concerns because the candidates are females.
“Interviews were held last week,” said Assistant Superintendent Jackie Sharp. “We had two applicants at North Webster High school who were both qualified and tied in points. So at the end of the day the staff and principal concur in the recommendation of Amanda Thomas.
“At North Webster Junior High we had five applicants,” Sharp continued. “Out of the top three applicants, staff and principal recommend Jessica Spence for the assistant principal position.”
Thomas was the acting assistant principal at Springhill Jr/Sr high school. Spence has experience as the Dean of students at Brown and Browning.
“Have we looked at assistant principals’ ratio as to male verses female?” Broughton asked.
Sharp said gender could not be considered, due to legalities.
“I had the same concern with Sarepta being the new junior high,” Williams said. “I got nothing against women but is she going to be able to handle it?”
“We would not make a recommendation of someone unless we thought they could handle the position,” Sharp said.
Despite the inquiries the recommendations were unanimously approved by the board.
Williams stated after the meeting that he was not intentionally trying to discriminate against the female applicants, but was concerned for their safety.
“At the high school and junior high levels fights sometimes happen,” he said. “I was worried what kind of position a woman assistant principal might be in if she were to try and break up a fight between students, especially some of the bigger guys.”
While Williams hopes the upcoming school year goes smoothly, he feels fighting is something which will happen.
“I certainly don’t want anything bad to happen,” he said. “I did not mean to be disrespectful with what I said. If the staff recommends this, and the person feels like they can handle it, then okay.”
Broughton did not offer any further explanation of his comments.