Clayton High School students protest principal’s reassignment

Johnston County News

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – Dozens of students showed up the Johnston County School Board meeting Tuesday to protest the removal Clayton High School’s principal.

As of August 12, Bennett Jones will no longer serve as principal at Clayton but work as lead administrator of Choice Plus in JCPS, the district confirmed.

“I want them to put Bennett where he belongs. Back in Clayton high school.  He’s changed countless lives there, just being the principal,” said rising senior Stephen Lines.

Jones was named Clayton High’s principal in 2016. He began his career with the district in 2002.

Jones was named Clayton High’s principal in 2016.

At the Johnston County School Board meeting on Tuesday, dozens of students protested the reassignment of Jones, chanting “Bring him back.”

Those students said they were prepared to speak to the board about Jones.

“He has completely changed the atmosphere at Clayton High School. I can personally say he helped me get through one of the toughest times of my life,” said Lines.

Several parents, including Lines’ mother Melissa Lines, were also at the meeting in support of Jones.

“Last year he was principal of the year, and now he’s being reassigned from a school he did amazing things for,” said Melissa Lines.

The district would not say why Jones was moved to a different role within the school system saying it was a confidential personnel matter. He did not receive a pay cut in his move to lead administrator.

“He’s trustworthy enough to stay in the school system, in Johnston County School, but he’s not trustworthy enough to be our principal,” said rising senior Mason Williams.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Jones was still listed as Clayton High School’s principal on the school’s website.

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