LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — More than three months after the Dunbar High School principal was placed on administrative leave, Lexington's NAACP chapter continues to raise questions around the high school principal's suspension following the death of the school's athletic director.
Whit Whitaker, the president of Lexington's NAACP chapter, released a statement Thursday night. In his statement, Whitaker addressed allegations made by staff members at Dunbar who referred to Ball as a bully. Whitaker argued this violates the school district's employee code of conduct.
There have been multiple statements released from the NAACP on this situation. The NAACP first released a statement in November.
In the first paragraph of the statement, NAACP says, "There appears to be procedural mishandling, action, and treatment of the Dunbar HS high school principal who was recently placed on administrative leave."
Dunbar's athletic director, Jason Howell, died on November 2. Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn investigated the death as a suicide.
A spokesperson for Fayette County Public Schools sent an email the following day reiterating the death of Howell. She went on to say in the next paragraph that the principal, Marlon Ball, was being placed on administrative leave.
In their statement, NAACP says, "This calls into our first question of whether the District’s email was the spark that began the rumors of unfairly tying the principal to the death of the athletic director."
The NAACP said this aggravated the online chatter about a post Ball made on his personal social media page that was allegedly about Howell, along with allegations made to media by a Dunbar high school staff member/school board member accusing Ball of being a bully and harassing his staff members.
The second question of the NAACP is whether earlier intervention by the FCPS district could have addressed alleged complaints against Ball prior to the death of Howell.
The NAACP said, "It is our opinion that the FCPS district should have acted swiftly and in a more responsible manner to take control of the situation by releasing a statement discouraging any connection between the principal and the suicide."
The group continued to say "the act of placing the principal on administrative leave and the ensuing investigation of alleged misconduct should have been held in a more private and dignified manner."
NAACP said, "This is customary given the reputation of a principal with 13 years of experience in education whom the FCPS district deemed worthy and qualified less than six months prior for the position."
Ball is a new principal this year. According to an announcement the district made about Ball's initial hiring, he had spent time as a teacher, then assistant principal at schools in Florida, as well as the administrator for curriculum at the Dubai International School.