Dr. Wilson nearly re-instated as Superintendent

Board of Education, News
BOE, Pickens, Coronavirus,

JASPER, Ga. – Dr. Carlton Wilson was nearly re-instated as Superintendent during the Pickens County Board of Education meeting held on Thursday, January 9, 2020.

Dr. Robert Keller, first public speaker

Dr. Carlson, having recently been forced to resign from his position as Superintendent, was the topic of all four public speakers during the meeting.

Dr. Robert Keller was the first to speak, stating “[…]Watching the videos, as I hope most of you will, you repeatedly berated Superintendent Wilson, and other board members too, repeatedly berated him in regards in what turned out to be trivial events. So once, formally, you finally got it into a private session, you failed to arrive at a consensus, and we had this three to two decision that ultimately resulted in Carlton’s resignation. I think that we’re probably going to see alot more of the three to two decisions just like we’ve seen tonight. Not only was there not a consensus in this arriving at the decision, two publicly stated that they were not even informed of the situation. I’m worried how many more times we’ll see this three to two decision as you direct the school system in the wrong direction.”

All four public speakers, as seen in the video below, were met with positive reactions from a majority of the audience.

Cheryl Sams addressed the council towards the end of the meeting, stating “[…]How did this qualify as an emergency meeting, per the Georgia code? It did not. And Tucker, you know it did not. An emergency meeting can only be when it effects the public safety, public personnel, or public property. How did this qualify for that? And my question is, we pay you $100 a meeting, per day? Well why are there so many called meetings? Did somebody have a bill that they needed to pay? And why are these meetings called if we are required to give five days notice to speak before the board? Why do you do all of these called meetings at a time when most of your constituents are at work, we don’t have ample time to get our name on here… why do you do that? Apparently, you can send out all the surveys you want, but you’ve already shown us you don’t want community input.”

Cheryl Sams, public speaker

Upon hearing from the public, board member Sue Finley made the motion to re-appoint Dr. Wilson as Superintendent of Pickens County schools, seconded only by vice chairman Steve Smith.

Chairman Tucker Green, board member Joeta Youngblood, and board member Donna Enis voted against this motion however, and so it did not pass, leaving Interim Superintendent Dr. Charles Webb to fill the position at this time.

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Will Pickens County Soon Be In Search of a Superintendent?

Featured, Featured Stories, News, Pickens High School
superintendent

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga –  Several sources have told Fetch Your News that Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson received a 24-hour ultimatum to resign or be terminated from his role during a called board meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 3 p.m.

Fetch Your News can’t confirm these reports as board members can’t discuss what takes place during executive session.

The meeting agenda listed executive session and personnel as discussion topics. After spending two hours and forty-five minutes in executive session, the board members emerged and announced that “no action was taken.”

Wilson spent the majority of the meeting outside of the executive session, before the board called him into the closed room around 5 p.m. If Wilson and his position were the subject of discussion, then he wouldn’t have been allowed in the room. Traditionally, a superintendent is present in the closed meetings.

The agenda listed executive session and personnel as items up for discussion in the called meeting.

Fetch Your News doesn’t know the reasoning behind the unconfirmed ultimatum, but will update this story as soon as information becomes available.

Several Pickens County Citizens drifted in and out between 3 and 5:45 p.m. to try and find out what was happening. However, the mid-afternoon session meant many couldn’t stay until the end. Some appeared visibly upset at the situation and possibility of the superintendent Wilson’s termination.

The board finally adjourned at 5:45 p.m. with no discussion as to why the meeting was called before departing. If they did present Wilson with an option to resign or be terminated, they did so behind closed doors. As previously stated, Fetch Your News can’t confirm this occurred during the almost three hour meeting.

Board member Sue Finley mentioned the possibility of an emergency board meeting being called sometime this week for further discussion of what they discussed in today’s executive session. She also added she wasn’t pleased with the Dec. 18 called meeting being held at 3 p.m. since it prevents people who work during the day from attending.

Called meetings must provide the public with 24 hours’ notice to give everyone an opportunity to attend. Therefore, it’s unclear if a meeting will be held on Thursday or Friday.

Wilson and the board of education have dealt with several contentious issues this school year including potentially arming staff, transgender bathrooms, and school threats. It’s unclear if any of these issues or other disagreements went into the decision to call the Dec. 18 meeting.

Separate boys or girls bathroom procedure reinstated

Pickens High School, Press Release
bathroom policy

JASPER, GA – In a statement issued on Oct. 16, Pickens County Schools (PCS) announced that the district is returning to its original bathroom procedure due to safety concerns for the students. 

Girls will go into the girls’ bathroom, boys will use the boys’ restroom, and transgendered students will have the option to use the teacher’s lounge or nurse’s bathroom.

Last week, PCS changed its bathroom procedure to allow students to use whichever bathroom that they identify with. The issue was met with extensive resistance in the community. Almost 50 members of the community spoke out about their feelings surrounding the issue to the Board of Education on Monday. Oct. 14.

In its statement, PCS said:

There have been many serious safety concerns raised in the past few days. School board members, staff, and students have been threatened due to the administration’s implementation of Adams vs. St. John’s County School District. There have been death threats, student harassment, and vandalism of school property. The District understands and acknowledges that it has the responsibility to protect its staff and students. However, the District has concerns that it may not be able to meet these recently increased demands. 

Therefore, the District shall return to bathroom procedures in place at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year until it can consult with law enforcement and other safety professionals so that these concerns may be addressed.

PCS asks that all of its stakeholders exercise patience and discretion until these matters can be resolved. 

Additionally, Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson stated:

“This is not a Pickens County issue.  It is not a north Georgia issue or a southern issue.  This is a national
issue and it is ripping apart the very fabric of public education making it virtually impossible for schools
to do what they are supposed to do – educating our children.

We are calling for strong leadership at the state level, as well as the national level, as schools and communities continue to grapple with issues like fighting expensive lawsuits and diverting valuable resources from what should be our only focus – educating our children.”

Fetch Your News will bring you updates to the decision as the story develops.

Pickens Board of Education Calls Emergency Meeting

News, Pickens High School, Press Release
bathroom policy

JASPER, GA – The Pickens County Board of Education has called an emergency meeting as of 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 15 for 5 p.m. this evening.

The emergency meeting is for the purpose of an executive session. As of now, no other details about the meeting have been released.

Executive sessions are closed to the public and media and board members can’t discuss what happens in them.

The meeting is on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. at the Pickens County Board of Education Office on 100 D.B. Carroll Street in Jasper, Georgia.

 

Superintendent Wilson Suspends Transgender Restroom Procedure

Community, Dragon's Corner, News, Pickens High School
transgender restoom procedure

JASPER, GA – Citizens of Pickens County packed out the high school’s performing arts center to voice their opposition and support of the new transgender restroom procedure, leading Superintendent Wilson to temporarily suspend the administrative action.

The meeting scheduled to last only two hours went well into the three-hour mark as close to 50 parents, students, and citizens passionately discussed their opinions on the transgender restroom procedure enacted last week.

You can watch the entire transgender restroom procedure public forum below.

Approximately 800 people came out to hear Wilson’s response to their concerns during the public discussion. Wilson asked everyone in attendance to remember that each student is a child with the right to be listened to, nurtured and loved.

Many cited faith, safety, and bullying as their main concerns about the change in policy.

“I would never in my life use a restroom in which a female is in,” said Nathan Barfield, a veteran, and father of two, “No person’s rights are more important than anyone else. My son has a huge heart and he doesn’t want to say anything for fear that he is going to be labeled a bully.”

The audience burst into an uproar of applause after Barfield’s comments.

Supporter Kayla Hollyfield spoke out, “You should be able to use any restroom that you want to use. This is not about left or right. It’s about equal rights. It’s not an agenda.”

Throughout the meeting, speakers were interrupted by their opposition and later on for calls for Wilson to answer the growing list of concerns that the school’s attorney added to with every speaker.

The administration kept a running list of concerns with every speaker during the policy hearing. One even suggested documenting all transgender students, so everyone would know who could go into which restroom.

The administration kept a running list about all the concerns from citizens and parents.

Wilson stated that with the current procedure teachers could ask students going to the bathroom if they identified as a boy or girl before entering.

Kino Ciel Stanfield quietly approached the podium and revealed that he a 2017 Pickens graduate is a transgendered individual. He began the transition process soon after graduating from Pickens County High.

“To transition isn’t something taken lightly,” he said. “I spoke to doctors and specialists and we came to the conclusion that this was best for me.”

He expressed discomfort with using the boy’s restroom while in high school, not only for himself but for his younger siblings as well. Stanfield wanted everyone to be comfortable, which came at the expense of his gender identity.

Stanfield used the single stall nurse’s restroom and teacher’s lounge bathroom while at school because it was easier. This option is offered to every transgender student at Pickens High School.

Out of the nearly 50 speakers, only a handful had recently graduated from PCS. Some parents expressed concern that their children didn’t want to speak out on the issue for fear of retaliation from both sides.

Superintendent Dr. Wilson addressed this, “I don’t understand the feeling either from students or adults that anything they say or have an opinion about would be retaliated against. I don’t want anyone here tonight not to speak because they feel intimidated.”

The crowd broke out in laughter at Wilson’s comments because no one believed this issue wouldn’t result in some form of retaliation from one group or the other.

One student made a threat against those opposing the policy on social media on Friday, Oct. 11, and Pickens County Sheriff’s Office promptly handled the situation.

At 8:45 p.m., Wilson addressed the crowd saying he would review everyone’s concerns and issue a press release with his decision over the next couple of days. However, for now, the transgender restroom procedure has been suspended.

Wilson told Fetch Your News that he would weigh everyone’s comments and make his decision soon. He didn’t reveal in which direction he was leaning.

Legal Perspective

Dr. Wilson apologized for misspeaking on a news outlet that the circuit 11 court system mandated the transgender bathrooms for schools. In fact, the ruling hasn’t gone into effect yet. The lower courts that heard the case before the 11 Circuit Court of Appeals found that not allowing a transgender student to use the bathroom that they identify with is sex discrimination.

Transgender is defined as an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at birth. It does not correlate with any specific sexual orientation or sex. Gender represents one’s sense of self and how they want to be perceived by the world. Sex relates to a person’s biological status either male, female, or intersex.

As of June 2018, 18 states and the District of Columbia have passed anti-discrimination laws to protect transgender people. Currently, Georgia is not one of those 18 states.

According to Ballotpedia, at least two other school systems have faced lawsuits dealing with transgender bathroom policy. Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board began when a transgender male sued the school for instituting a policy that prohibited transgender individuals from using the bathroom with which they identify. Grimm argued the school system violated Title IX, a federal law prohibiting gender discrimination in schools that receive federal funding.

In a January 7, 2015 letter, The U.S. Department of Education interpreted this ban on gender discrimination included discrimination against people based on their gender identities and their use of bathrooms.

Grimm lost the initial decision but won a 2 to 1 decision in Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to interpret Title IX. As of 2017, the case was remanded back to the fourth circuit after new guidance from the Department of Justice and the Department of Education.

Doe v. Regional School Unit 26 holds the distinction of being the first case where a state court ruled that a trans-student could use the bathroom that they choose. The Supreme Court of Maine overturned lower court rulings on the basis of the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

Citizens of Pickens County have stated that they are prepared to go into legal battle with the school to prevent transgender bathrooms from coming to Pickens High School.

Pickens County Schools announces make-up days

Dragon's Corner, News

JASPER, Ga. – Pickens County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlton Wilson announced in a press release on the school system’s website Saturday, Jan. 20, three scheduled make-up dates in February for missed school days as a result of recent winter weather.

We are very concerned with the academic time our students have missed during this very difficult winter. Our 2017-2018 school calendar includes three weather make-up days during Winter Break in February.

After much consideration, we have made the decision to make up three of of the 12 days our students have missed. The make-up dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018
  • Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
  • Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

If we continue to miss school days for inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances, we will have to consider the option to make up days during our 2018 Spring Break.

As always, our first priority is the safety and best interest of our students.

According to the Pickens County Schools website, the Pickens County Schools 2018 spring break mentioned in Wilson’s statement occurs Monday, April 2, through Friday, April 6.

Continue to follow FetchYourNews throughout the winter for the latest weather coverage and school, business and office closings.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

Author

Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

Dr. Carlton Wilson takes oath May 12th as new Superintendent for Pickens County School System

News

A new Superintendent was put in place today for Pickens County School System.  The administration of the oath of office to Dr. Carlton Wilson as the Superintendent of Schools for Pickens County, Georgia was held Friday, May 12, 2017.   The ceremony was held in the Pickens County Board of Education Conference Center at 4:30pm.

On April 26, 2017, the Pickens County Board of Education voted to name Dr. Carlton Wilson as the single finalist for the position of Superintendent. Dr. Wilson was named as finalist for the position of Superintendent for the fourteen-day period of public comment as required by law. All documents received by the Board relative to Dr. Wilson’s application for the position were available to the public on request at the Board of Education office. After the period of public comment, it was the Board’s intent to employ Dr. Wilson as Superintendent. The terms of employment were determined by the Board prior to the actual employment of Dr. Wilson.

Dr. Wilson was selected as single finalist from a pool of 49 applicants. During the selection process, the Board reviewed application materials of all applicants, received reference information, and considered survey input from community members and employees. The Board initially interviewed eight applicants and conducted several follow-up interviews.

Prior to his education career, Dr. Wilson served 10 years as a Law Enforcement Officer; 14 years as a Director of Security, Loss Prevention, and Risk Management; and 10 years as a Director of Human Resources.

Dr. Wilson joined the Pickens County School District in 1996 as a teacher at Pickens County Middle School, where he taught for four years. His administrative career began in 2000, where he served as Assistant Principal of Jasper Primary School. He became Principal of Hill City Elementary School in 2002, where he remained for 11 years and led Hill City Elementary School to many notable accomplishments. Dr. Wilson completed his tenure with Pickens County Schools as Principal at Jasper Elementary School.

Dr. Wilson’s part-time positions include serving as a GA P.O.S.T. Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Deputy Sheriff Sergeant with the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Unit, as well as an Adjunct Professor for Piedmont College, where he teaches classes with topics including Curriculum Evaluation for School Improvement, Learning and Cognition, Educational Law and Policy, and a variety of others.

Dr. Wilson’s community involvements include serving as past President of Drug Coalition for a Drug-Free Pickens, Pickens County Sportsmen Club, and Partners of Pickens Pets – Pickens County Animal Shelter. He is past Vice-President of F.E.R.S.T. Childhood Literacy Foundation, as well as serving with Friends of the Pickens County Library. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Jasper Rotary Club, Pickens County Family Connections, and Pickens County Literacy Council. He has served as the District Commissioner for Cherokee Pickens District of BSA (Boy Scout Club of America), District Merit Badge Counselor for the BSA, and District Leader for the Girl Scouts. Dr. Wilson also served as a Pickens County Attendance Protocol Committee Member, as well as many other community involvement programs.

Dr. Wilson brings many professional accomplishments, including Assistant Principal of the Year, Outstanding Educator, High Performing Principal, Principal of the Year for District 16, and many personal accomplishments as well.

Dr. Wilson earned his Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership, in a concentration in School Law and School Finance, from the University of Georgia. He currently serves as Presiding Judge of the Pickens County Magistrate Court. –

Jail ‘n Bail event rakes in donations for helping combat childhood illiteracy

Featured Stories, Non Profit

The Pickens County Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy held their annual “Jail ‘n Bail” event at the old jail on Main Street in Jasper yesterday. While the event is the only major fund-raiser held for the charity during the year, it is an occasion for some good tongue-in-cheek fun. (more…)

Jasper Elementary School contract moves ahead while TES put on hold

Dragon's Corner, Featured Stories

Despite his predictions that Tate Elementary School’s slated renovation would come in near projected costs, Pickens Schools Operations Manager Rick Little was stunned when he saw the figures that did come in. At nearly double the architect’s $1.8 million projected figure, the school board has been forced to delay the extensive renovation plans for the time being. (more…)

School Improvement; SIP and Attendance

Dragon's Corner, Featured Stories

With the push to increase student achievement, determined through various assessments including the CRCT, SIP (School Improvement Plan) is becoming a popular new acronym in education. At the Pickens County Board of Education meeting last Thursday, December 12, 2013, three school administrators presented their school’s plans. (more…)

Pickens Schools Receive Accreditation

Dragon's Corner, Featured Stories

Accreditation honors were presented by Superintendent Dr. Lula Perry at last Thursday night’s school board meeting. All Pickens County schools received their certifications of accreditation. (more…)

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