BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Residents in Berkeley County were surprised Tuesday night when the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) Board — made up of mostly newly-elected members — voted to fire Superintendent Deon Jackson and their in-house lawyer, Dr. Tiffany Richardson.
Some board members said that they were caught off guard by the firings, and replacements for both Jackson and Richardson being appointed during the same meeting raised some concern as well.
Dr. Anthony Dixon was selected to replace Jackson as Superintendent, effective immediately.
David Barrow, a Board of Trustees member, questioned how the board was able to hire replacements before the terminations were official.
“There had to be some meeting or some agreement with some board members to negotiate the contract,” he speculated.
Board Chairman Mac McQuillin provided the following statement when asked for the reasoning behind the terminations:
“We understand that the public wants and deserves answers regarding Mr. Jackson’s and Ms. Richardson’s termination, but the prospect of litigation and the fact that their termination involve personnel issues limit our ability to comment fully at this time. However, we expect to be able to share our rationale in the future, and we are confident that we made a decision that is in the best interest of the District and its students.“
However, Borrow believes the public deserves an explanation. “I will not be intimidated or threatened, and I will continue to speak truth,” he said. “I will uncover information for the public and for our constituents and for teachers to know exactly what’s happening on this board.”
Some members of the public seem to be echoing Borrow’s sentiment. With big changes being made and little rationale provided, some BCSD parents have lost faith in the board.
Melissa Soule used to teach in Berkeley County and now has a son that attends school in the district. She was upset by the abrupt personnel changes, as well as other decisions made in the meeting, such as banning Critical Race Theory from being taught in BCSD schools.
“I’m angry,” she said. “I’m angry and devastated for the students and the teachers of Berkeley County.”
Her anger has left her pessimistic about the future of Berkeley County schools, and she said she plans to pull her son out. “He’ll go to virtual SC. He’ll be homeschooled.”