Fired Principal Back To Work

Thursday, April 5th 2007, 7:08 pm
By: News On 6

A Muskogee school principal fired last Saturday is back at work Friday. Hilldale High School principal Dewayne Pemberton was fired over a driver's license. News On 6 anchor Scott Thompson reports a Muskogee County judge has signed off on an injunction that puts Pemberton back on the job.

Hundreds of outraged supporters stayed until 3 a.m. Saturday to hear the 3 to 2 vote to fire Pemberton. Dewayne Pemberton says he stands behind Hilldale's softball coach. Cara Christiansen refused to drive a bus. The school's athletic director and superintendent agreed it's been a standing rule for 20 years that coaches drive their team's bus. Pemberton argued that the rule isn't in the school handbook. Still, the superintendent accused Pemberton of playing favorites, since Christiansen is engaged to his son.

"I think he'll always still be the principal here, and they'll see,” said Christiansen. "This district's going to be hurt now."

"I think they did a disservice to their students, their faculty and this entire community," said Pemberton.

"I'm just glad that the due process hearing is over, at this point in time,” said Hilldale superintendent DB Merrill. “It's time now for our district to move forward."

Pemberton said he'd be looking for another job, but his lawyer filed an injunction that will send him back to work. The paperwork claims breaking an unwritten rule isn't grounds for firing.

In the days after Pemberton's dismissal, Hilldale High School saw walkouts, gun threats and fires set in the school. The injunction also says giving Pemberton his job back will help calm the heated situation. The principal's attorney says Pemberton will be on the job temporarily until court hearing in two weeks. Then a judge will decide if the principal is back to work for good.

Related stories:

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