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School board chair: Clayton issue resolved in two weeks

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SMITHFIELD-Johnston County School Board Chairman Mike Wooten said Wednesday, Sept. 11 the issue of Principal Bennett Jones'  transfer from Clayton High School should be resolved in two weeks.

Jones was transferred without explanation by former Superitendent Ross Renfrow on June 12 to lead administrator of the Choice Plus program. The transfer followed a summer long investigation of alleged grade fixing involving a football player to make him academically qualified to play on the team.

Former Football Coach Hunter Jenks, in is Aug. 13 resignation letter, said Renfrow met with him on Aug. 13 and told him the investigation had not implicated the football program in any wrongdoing.

New interim School Superintendent Jim Causby promised to swiftly resolve the controversy.

"The Interim superintennt (Causby) is reviewing the documentation and there should be closure within the next couple of weeks," said Wooten.

At  the Tuesday, Sept. 10 school board meeting, Clayton High School parent Kim Winslow spoke during public comments and voiced the frustrustation of parents and students over the situation.

The board room was filled with supporters of Dr. Jones wearing Clayton jerseys, t-shirts who applauded Winslow's comments. 

"Over the last month, we have learned that other JCPS employees have been subjected to similar situations as Dr. Jones.  Unfortunately, they did not have the same kind of voice standing up for them like Dr. Jones has," said Winslow. " If we had not continued to publicize this issue and vocalize our concerns, we believe that Dr. Jones would be yet another victim of the unchecked power of the office of the superintendent.  

"Dr. Jones may not be the first that this has happened to, but he needs to be the last.  We ask that the board review what has happened and take the necessary actions to ensure this never happens again," said Winslow.