BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Some newly-elected members of the Berkeley County School Board voted to make abrupt changes during their first meeting Tuesday night.
Board members voted 6-3 to terminate Superintendent Deon Jackson without any reason given for his termination.
But some members of the school board said they were not notified of any changes or resolutions prior to Tuesday night’s meeting. “It is unbelievable that on the first night of a new board that such things would come up. Unbelievable,” said board member Yvonne Bradley.
Jackson, who took over as superintendent in July 2021, walked out of the room followed by several teachers, school staffers, and members of the community who were attending Tuesday night’s meeting.
“I’d like to know the justification, the rationale, and the reasoning for firing an individual who just was proficient in his first annual evaluation,” questioned at-large school board member David Barrow. “What is the reason, mister chairman? You made the motion, what is the reason? Why are we terminating his employment?” Barrow even went as far as to call the move a “political witch hunt.”
The school board’s new chairman, Mac McQuillin, said he would not discuss personnel matters in open session.
Dr. Anthony Dixon will serve as the district’s interim superintendent. Dr. Dixon was named Interim Chief of Schools for the Charleston County School District in August.
Board members also terminated the Berkeley County School District’s in-house lawyer, Dr. Tiffany Richardson, who joined the district in 2021. People attending Tuesday night’s meeting clapped in her support as she walked out of the room.
Resolutions were passed by the board to study a potential tax decrease, to disallow ‘Critical Race Theory’ from being taught in the district, and to form a committee to review what the board believes to be potential sexual or pornographic materials in the district.
Kirsten Tanner, who previously served as school board representative for District 9, said the so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ is not currently taught in Berkeley County schools. “If these board members would walk into these schools and talk to these teachers, they could learn a lot,” she said. “I’ve been in almost all 47 of our schools in the two-year period that I got to serve as a board member – that never has been taught.”
You can watch the board meeting on the district’s YouTube page by clicking here. The vote takes place at approximately 2:20:17