MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Mediation has been ordered in an ongoing dispute between a school district and a principal whose job has been in limbo for months. Muskogee County District Judge Jeff Payton said he will select a mediator by Tuesday to oversee the sessions regarding the employment of Hilldale High School Principal Dewayne Pemberton.
Pemberton was suspended with pay in February and then fired in March over accusations that he interfered with an assistant principal's efforts to persuade a softball coach to obtain a commercial driver's license and transport students to games.
Pemberton appealed his dismissal to the court, and Payton issued a temporary restraining order in April that allowed Pemberton to return to work. That order remains in effect.
Earlier this week, a referee for the Oklahoma Supreme Court heard arguments on the school district's effort to have the state's high court take jurisdiction on the case. No decision was made.
After Payton's decision to order mediation Friday, the next hearing in district court was scheduled for Aug. 10.
Hilldale's classes begin Aug. 16.
2/5/2007 Students Protest After Principal Suspended
2/7/2007 Student Protests Continue
2/9/2007 Suspended Principal Given Termination Papers
2/15/2007 Parents Rally Around Popular Principal
2/19/2007 Principal's Job Still In Limbo
2/22/2007 School Accused Of Violating Open Meeting Act
2/25/2007 Prosecutor Says School Board Didn't Violate The Law
3/2/2007 Hearing For Suspended School Principal Set
3/30/2007 School Board To Decide Principal's Job Status
3/31/2007 Hilldale Principal Fired, Parents Outraged
4/5/2007 Fired Principal Back To Work
4/20/2007 Teachers Standup For Embattled Principal
7/20/2007 - School Board Asks State Supreme Court To Uphold Firing