Judge rules in favor of EBR school board in firing of Scotlandville High principal

Judge rules in favor of EBR school board in firing of Scotlandville High principal

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A retired judge who served as a hearing officer has ruled in favor of the school board in a hearing that would determine whether a fired principal would get his job back.

Dr. Calvin Nicholas, the former principal of Scotlandville Magnet High School, was fired for using a stick to break up a fight. Nicholas said he did use a stick to break up a fight that broke out on August 31 at Scotlandville Magnet High. Video of the incident shows Nicholas using the stick on a student.

A hearing, which was fiery at times, was held on November 2.

The school board has always said Nicholas violated policy that strictly states no corporal punishment.

However, Nicholas's attorney, Jill Craft, said the policy is not very clear and tried to prove East Baton Rouge Parish teachers and administrators do not get any training on how to break up a fight, riot or a gang fight. She questioned the head of human resources at the school board on that very matter.

Disciplinary Hearing Officer Judge Bob Hester (Ret.) ruled in favor of the school board agreeing with Superintendent Warren Drake.

"I cannot conclude that the actions of Warren Drake, Superintendent of Schools for East Baton Rouge Parish, were 'arbitrary and capricious.' Therefore, the decision of the superintendent to terminate the employment of Dr. Calvin Nicholas is affirmed," Hester said.

The judge was given 10 days from the date of the hearing to decide Nicholas's fate.

"The decision to terminate an employee is not one I take lightly," said Superintendent Drake. "I expect our administrators, and staff to model appropriate behavior in our schools at all times.  I am saddened by the way the students, staff, and the Scotlandville High School community in general have been publicly characterized. This characterization does not paint an accurate picture of the school or community's environment. I wish Dr. Nicholas and his family well as they move forward."

"I did not want him fired. I didn't go to the school board and say fire him. I was never for or against it. I made sure I stayed neutral," said Lakisha Harris, the mother of the boy who was hit with the stick. "The policies are in place for a reason. They never said how to break up a fight. I feel there should be more training on ways to break up a fight, but I don't feel he should have been walking around with a stick."

Craft said they do plan to appeal to district court.

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