Originally created 10/09/01

Josey instructor resigns



T.W. Josey High School's band director, who had been accused by students of sexually harassment, tendered his resignation Monday.

The Richmond County Board of Education's board room was filled Monday morning for Charles Smith's personnel hearing, which was scheduled for 10 a.m. But about 90 minutes after the hearing was scheduled to begin, attorneys for both parties reached an agreement behind closed doors, which included his resignation, effective May 30.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dr. Smith will serve a 30-day suspension and will not seek employment with the school system in the 2002-03 school year. He will be allowed to finish the remainder of his contract with the school system as an assistant in the transportation department.

After the agreement was read and unanimously approved by the board, Dr. Smith left without commenting on the decision.

Supporters of Dr. Smith who were there to address the board on his behalf never got the chance.

"I feel like we were cheated today," said Mattie Maddox, a retired schoolteacher. "We were here to speak up for Dr. Smith. And I think we've lost a very good leader and role model for our children today."

Craig Martin, who does not support Dr. Smith, was just as outraged by the agreement.

"Justice was not served today, but in the end he'll get what he deserves," Mr. Martin said.

Dr. Smith was suspended in the spring, pending the outcome of an investigation by the Board of Education, after several of his students alleged he had made inappropriate sexual comments toward them.

Dr. Smith, a former Richmond County teacher of the year, has been band director at Josey High School since 1977. He is credited with leading the school's marching band, the "Sonic Boom of the South," into national prominence.

Reach Ashlee Griggs at (706) 823-3552.