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What In The Hell, West Florence?

There are new developments to report related to the ongoing saga at West Florence High School … First, and most importantly, the Florence County sheriff’s office has confirmed its investigators are involved in a “harassment” probe at the high school – which has seen its principal and four of its athletics…

There are new developments to report related to the ongoing saga at West Florence High School …

First, and most importantly, the Florence County sheriff’s office has confirmed its investigators are involved in a “harassment” probe at the high school – which has seen its principal and four of its athletics coaches lose their jobs over the past six weeks.

No further information was provided by the sheriff’s office as to the nature of the investigation, and officials at Florence School District One appear to have been caught off guard by the announcement.

There’s only been one constant in this case: Confusion.

Last month we reported on the resignation of West Florence principal Pam Quick, who stepped down on February 23 after it was revealed school board members were conducting an investigation into her and newly hired school softball coach Kevin Jones.

Documents obtained by this news site reveal Jones was the subject of an internal investigation by the school regarding alleged “employee misconduct incidents.”

“Your alleged actions can be categorized as unprofessional conduct,” a letter sent to Jones on February 9 from assistant superintendent Matrell Stuckey noted.

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

Enclosed in the letter were copies of district policy on sexual harassment.

Two-and-a-half weeks later, Jones submitted a “fill-in-the-blanks” letter of resignation identical to the one submitted by Quick.

Take a look …

(Click to view)

(Via: Provided)

Jones and Quick were soon followed by men’s basketball coach Pete Ellis (who resigned earlier this month), volleyball coach Hilary Pratt (who says she was fired on March 1) and head football coach/ athletics director Trey Woodberry (who is currently on paid administrative leave).

Woodberry previously announced his intention to resign as athletics director, ostensibly so he could spend more time with his family.

Anybody buying that?

Right … what is really going on at this school?

Good question …

District officials have repeatedly refused to discuss any of these personnel moves … creating a vacuum filled by all sorts of conspiracy theories.

The most popular of these theories?  That the resignations/ firings are part of some sort of racial purge.

“Maybe it’s a coincidence that all the successful white coaches are being fired or threatened to resign by the new principal,” one Florence native wrote on Facebook.  “It’s being swept under the rug.  The news agencies aren’t investigating why these coaches are losing their jobs and why it’s only white coaches.”

We’ve seen nothing at this point to suggest there is a racial motivation to any of these staffing moves.  Maybe there is.  Maybe it really is coincidental.  What we do know is the longer the school stonewalls the public regarding what transpired behind its walls – the more these narratives are going to take root.

As we noted two weeks ago, “it’s time for West Florence to provide the public with answers.”

“If government employees lose their jobs over alleged misconduct, the public has a right to know what happened,” we added.

Stay tuned …

***

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