Fired Scotlandville Magnet H.S. principal fights to get his job back
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The former Scotlandville Magnet High School principal who was fired for using a stick to break up a fight is now in a fight of his own. After a hearing Monday, it is now up to a judge if the he will get his job back.
The hearing began early Monday morning, fiery at times, and continued until late Monday evening. The hearing was between the East Baton Rouge School Board and Dr. Calvin Nicholas and his lawyer Jill Craft.
Dr. Calvin 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 Dr. Nicholas using the stick on a student.
The school board has presented four witnesses, trying to prove they did a proper investigation and followed protocol that they notified Dr. Nicholas that an investigation had been launched against him.
The school board presented some sticks that were confiscated from Dr. Nicholas' office, but the judge did not allow them into evidence because school officials took them out of his office without a search warrant to confiscate personal items.
"You cannot use a stick, you cannot use a stick to break up a fight - absolutely not. It's a gross violation of our policy, it's potentially against the law, it's battery on a student," said East Baton Rouge Parish School System Superintendent Warren Drake. "Why would I allow any principal and say it's okay to pick up a stick, wrap it with electrical tape to get a better grip on it and then use it on students who are fighting? It's not acceptable, it's not acceptable in any schools and yes ma'am if he would have reached in there and separated them, he probably wouldn't be sitting here today."
Dr. Nicholas' lawyer Jill Craft has been crossing every witness intensely, trying to prove that her client was never notified of an investigation. Instead, she said he was fired two days after the incident.
The school board has always said that Dr. Nicholas violated policy that strictly says no corporal punishment. But Craft said that the policy is not very clear and tried to prove East Baton Rouge School teachers and 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.
"Training for principals to break up a fight, we have not had a meeting on training principals directly for breaking up a fight," said Millie Williams with East Baton Rouge Parish School System. "We have had training for protection in schools. The definition for corporal punishment itself tells you not to use instruments or weapons."
The school board rested around 4 p.m. Witnesses for Dr. Nicholas took the stand after the school board rested.
The judge has ten days to decide whether or not Dr. Nicholas will be reinstated to Scotlandville High as principal.
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