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Principal retires after being placed on leave for outburst

Parents say they won't give up Gibbons' fight

Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 8:09 PM
Last updated Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 3:25 PM
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Hartley Gibbons’ battle to convince school district officials his school is contaminated with mold ended Thursday when he filed for retirement.

The Terrace Manor Elementary School principal had been placed on administrative leave Wednesday by Superintendent Frank Roberson for an outburst at a Richmond County Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

Gibbons was escorted out of the building as he yelled at board members for not allocating money to Terrace Manor for repairs and for ignoring concerns he had been voicing for more than six months.

Gibbons did not return a call for comment Thursday, but Chief Human Resources Officer Norman Hill confirmed his retirement.

Parents at Terrace Manor said that, with Gibbons gone, they have lost an advocate fighting to solve a problem some believe exists.

Hope Fawley said her son’s asthma has worsened since he started at Terrace Manor two years ago, which she attributes to mold and mildew in classrooms, hallways and ceilings.

“If his asthma’s not bad at home, and it wasn’t at his previous schools, (Terrace Manor) is the only thing it could be,” Fawley said. “He’s there eight hours a day. I don’t even know if I want my son going to the school without Mr. Gibbons there.”

Although he was on paid administrative leave, Gibbons attended a faculty meeting Thursday, where he announced his retirement, according to Nell Grubbs, whose granddaughter attends the school.

Gibbons then hugged parents and students who were waiting for him outside and left.

“I wish it could have happened a different way,” Grubbs said. “We didn’t want to lose Mr. Gibbons. It’s a shame he had to do this.”

Grubbs said several parents will not give up Gibbons’ fight.

The district tested the school for mold several times, and all have come back negative, but Grubbs said parents believe there is more to it.

Alternative Construction and Environmental Solutions, an environmental consultation and construction management firm, tested for moisture intrusion, the condition of painted surfaces, asbestos-containing materials and mold, and conducted a limited indoor air-quality analysis Sept. 17 and 19.

The firm concluded that all asbestos-containing materials were in good condition and said it found “no visible evidence of mold growth,” although no destructive or invasive inspecting was done, according to the report.

The East Central Health District also inspected the school Nov. 6 and found “no signs of any current mold issues within the school building,” according to a letter sent to Gibbons.

Terrace Manor grandparent Charles Wallace said most parents believe the testing has not gone deep enough into the building.

He said a paint job earlier this year only covered over the toxins and the agencies that inspected the walls did not look inside them.

“There could be leaks somewhere that we don’t know about,” Wallace said. “There could be wet wood, leaks. I think a lot of people don’t really want the truth to come out.”

Although Gibbons is gone, Wallace said the parents will not stop their mission to make the school safer for the children. But he acknowledged it’s going to be more difficult without their leader.

“It’s a travesty,” Wallace said. “That school is hurting real bad. Mr. Gibbons, all he was doing was putting those kids first.”

Comments (13) Add comment
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Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 11/15/12 - 09:20 pm
7
3
You sue the school system,

You sue the school system, make a commotion in a public meeting, get demoted, get passed around the school system, are the subject of multiple internal affairs investigations and then at the end of the day....

You walk away with a big paycheck.

Jake
32844
Points
Jake 11/15/12 - 10:06 pm
5
0
Just a thought

While I believe there might be more to this story, how is Mr Gibbons health? Is he affected by this? He has been there for a number of years.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/15/12 - 11:44 pm
6
0
Wondering if

He plans to run for a seat on the RCBOE in the next election.
Resigning now allows him to run for any available seat in 2014 including District 9.

Dist 9 Venus Cain – (Term 2011 – 2014)
is an AT LARGE seat that comes up for campaigning next year.

useful
695
Points
useful 11/16/12 - 05:58 am
5
3
I hope Mr Gibbons does run

I hope Mr Gibbons does run for a seat on the rcboe,he would get my vote.we need a man who care about our children's health.
The rcboe does not seem to care about the children. good luck Mr. Gibbons. maybe you should sue.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 11/16/12 - 07:31 am
6
1
Just remember to those

that think the solution to everything is sue the County for $$$.

If a person sues the county for $$$- They sue YOU for $$$.

Win or lose the county has to increase Taxes to offset the lawsuit legal costs or if there is an award.

If the County increases taxes - YOU have to pay them or leave the county.

If you think YOU don't or Won't pay the taxes - Surprise they are Trickle Down. YOU cannot avoid the increase YOU will pay your share in increased prices and/or Property Taxes.

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 11/16/12 - 08:43 am
3
0
Best for him

Good thing for him....he is probably mentally & physically worn out with this ....

kc fan
158
Points
kc fan 11/16/12 - 09:00 am
3
3
Holmes inspection

school systems do not always hire the best company's for the job. Get a Holmes inspection and he will uncover the truth!

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 11/16/12 - 09:14 am
1
0
RC Bored of Education
Unpublished

A is just another place of coming together. The emerging culture is all about coming together. What is done afterwards is up for debate? Coming together for free meals. Hundreds eat free daily. Coming together to fight crime? No progress in this area. Coming together in government housing. No progress here. Just coming together to enjoy the benefits of others labors. Now that is fun.

saltine
281
Points
saltine 11/16/12 - 09:38 am
5
0
school system

There is another "problem" being passed around the school system, that has made its way to Blythe Elementary.Several parents have tried meeting with "a school board member" and we were told ,"I can't discuss it with you."" P.S. There are several parents that don't even know that their child has been "Exposed" to this.It must be a secret!!!!

Little Lamb
46868
Points
Little Lamb 11/16/12 - 09:34 am
1
1
Grateful

That post from kc fan sounds like a Grateful Mother post.

:-)

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 11/16/12 - 10:08 am
3
1
I hope he does run for RCBOE.

I hope he does run for RCBOE. The people there now seem like they don't have a clue, and don't care at all about the students.

justus4
103
Points
justus4 11/16/12 - 10:14 am
1
0
Poor man...but, where's the
Unpublished

Poor man...but, where's the so-called "investigation" into his allegations? How 'bout talking to his staff? How 'bout checking health records for miss work days due to illness? Instead of passing judgement on the man, try informing the People on the facts about a 60 year old building, which dates back to segregation! Some things never change...

lynn7044
190
Points
lynn7044 11/16/12 - 10:20 am
2
0
It's truth time

It's time that RCBOE start telling the truth, now it has came to light that mold is in the school. Now, that he's in retirement he can really speak out. He cares about our children health unlike some school leaders (Bulter High School Principal). Now, parents need to demand that during the school break that something need to be done. It's funny now a new report that is out is saying what he said is true. So that means that RCBOE and other leaders have all lied.

It's funny how someone can submitt a request to speak before the board and you will be turn down. Didn't we vote on who will be sitting in the seats. Now we have no voices on whats going on. Now, I see why voter said "Yes" to Charter School. I would like for Alex Howard or other board leaders address, Why taxpayers and parents can't speak or be heard when there are concern within our school system.

The table are turning in Richmond County, new people are relocation here and are demanding better. The lies and underhanded things have been going on for the last 10 years are coming to a end.

When over $600,000 is being paid to attorney retainer. Yet, Columiba County, only payed when he was needed. When you can charter a bus, cheaper then renting from your school system. When parents can't speak even on the topic at hand, there are major problem. Parents are coming together to make RCBOE aware of What's Really Going On.

soapy_725
43757
Points
soapy_725 11/16/12 - 11:02 am
0
0
The chickens are coming home to roost.
Unpublished

And the eggs they are laying are rotten. Decades of ignorance and apathy. Playing games at the RCBOE and the courthouse. As always, no one cares until you reach into their wallet, their child is sick, their child is bused across the county to create a quota or the man goes into their house.

Coming together is a joke. Meaningless chatter for the uneducated. Disenfranchised and entitled to everything.

Herding sheeple into the fold is more truthful.

Exchanging chains of iron for chains of welfare. Bought and paid for just the same. The Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery. It only enlarged the plantation.

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 11/16/12 - 12:48 pm
3
0
The BIGGER Picture............

Let's leave Mr. Gibbons for a moment; look at what has happened to America; people who "care" are being stonewalled, by those who are supposed to represent us. We are forced to "lose our cool" in some situations because those in power, intentionally refuse to do their jobs...........Check the stats, Baby Boomers are retiring and liquidating assets at an alarming rate; we are moving ourselves into positions where we will only have to pay minimum or no taxes. We are tired of being ridiculed for trying to persuade those in power, to simply do their job.

We are, as much as possible, dropping out of the mainstream......pretty soon, all of those who are left will have to step and pay the bills..............

As for me, I am retired, on Social Security; it's not a lot, but I don't pay ANY taxes, other than for my car tags, and local sales tax (and I can control that by good money management).

scgator
1042
Points
scgator 11/16/12 - 01:24 pm
3
0
RCBOE TOP SECRET STATUS

I remember when our kids were in Richmond County Schools, once I asked a board member if I could see a copy of the budget; I was told, "Oh, you wouldn't understand it." I kept insisting, and finally got a printed copy; the board member met me in a public place and "passed" it to me in a brown paper envelope labeled confidential. He told me that he could get in serious trouble with Dr. Strelec if he found out that a "citizen" had a copy................NOTHING RCBOE does surprises me.

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