Principal's Job Still In Limbo

Monday, February 19th 2007, 5:12 pm
By: News On 6

Hundreds of parents gathered at a Hilldale School board meeting Monday night in support of Dewayne Pemberton, the Hilldale high school principal who was suspended earlier this month. But News On 6 reporter Ashli Sims reports Pemberton’s job was not part of the official agenda.

They started filing in about one hour early wearing Pemberton T-shirts, and waving signs of support.

“We’re here to get Mr. Pemberton back,” said parent Cynthia Acuff.

“Because I think Pemberton did not do anything wrong, and he deserves our support and I’m here to support him,” said Hilldale Freshman Tiffany Rice.

Hilldale’s principal Dewayne Pemberton was suspended earlier this month. The 18-year veteran says he wasn’t told why he was being released of his duties. The school boards action to suspend Pemberton outraged parents and students.

“Because this is where my kids go to school, this is our school, and an injustice is being done and it needs to be stopped,” parent Teresa Davis said.

The subject of Pemberton’s job was not on the school board agenda, but hundreds filled the event center anyway to send the board a message. The president of the Hilldale Classroom Teachers Association got the crowd going when she presented two petitions, one in support of Pemberton, the second a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Hilldale superintendent D.B. Merrill.

“Dewayne Pemberton has been here for 18 years, he’s always been very supportive of the teachers he’s been fair,” Christi Thomson President of the Hilldale Classroom Teachers Association said. “We might not always agree, but you know where you stand with him, and we felt like the reasons behind this were not valid and that something had to be done.”

That sentiment was echoed by Hilldale parent and grandparent Bud Morgan.

“The superintendent and assistant principal could save themselves from further ridicule, and embarrassment; the only honorable thing for them to do now is to resign and peruse other opportunities,” he said.

One thing was clear Monday night; most of the people in the crowd want Pemberton back.

“You need to do what is right for the school,” Morgan said. “Reinstate Mr. Pemberton, restore unity and normalcy in Hilldale Public Schools.”

The school board announced Pemberton’s due process hearing will be scheduled for March 15th at 7 p.m. That made several teachers upset, because they say that is the same night as parent-teacher conferences.

To see a video version of this story, click here. The News On 6 also covered this story last week. To view that story, click here.