Beloved Clayton HS principal to receive settlement from district

Johnston County News

CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A day after the Johnston County School District settled a lawsuit with one of its principals, that beloved principal is speaking out. Dr. Bennett Jones says he’s relieved this is over and wants to move forward. The district will pay Jones $53,190.

“Very proud to be the principal of Clayton High School,” Jones said.

Jones’ job abruptly taken from him last summer. This as the district investigated the eligibility of a single football player. That probe later expanded. The district finding 13 students received diplomas without meeting the graduation requirements.

“The perception throughout the county and outside the county was that we had been cheating,” Anita Bland, a parent said. “The chants came from the stands, cheaters, cheaters, cheaters,” she continued.

Parents and students came together holding several large rallies. They called for Jones to be reinstated.

Then superintendent, Dr. Ross Renfrow suddenly retired.

Jones was later cleared of any wrongdoing. Back in October he became principal of Clayton High once again.

“It’s a great school, great tradition, a great community of excellence and so I’m proud and honored to serve that community,” he said.

The school board reached the settlement with Jones Wednesday. He said the school board chair has apologized.

“I’m very thrilled for him that he’s receiving that. I think that’s the least amount he deserves. Right now, with all that he’s been through,” Emily Kuykendall, a parent said.

“Without having this kind of closure I think it would have been difficult for everyone to move forward and now we can move forward and look forward to the new opportunities that await,” Dr. Jones said.

CBS 17 reached out to the school district and the school board chairman, Todd Sutton. Neither returned our request for comment.

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