‘He is more than a principal’: Hundreds rally for reassigned Clayton principal’s return

Johnston County News

CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) — The rallying cry continues in Clayton as hundreds gathered to call on the district to bring back Dr. Bennett Jones. The beloved principal of Clayton High School was reassigned.

“He is more than just a principal. To the kids of Clayton High School, he is a mentor. He’s a motivator and he’s an inspiration,” said parent and organizer Kim Winslow.

CBS 17 has repeatedly reached out to the Johnston County School District to find out why Jones was reassigned. They’ve declined to comment, saying it’s a “personnel matter.”

Jones has denied any wrongdoing. CBS 17 has learned he’s filed a grievance.

“It’s essential that Dr. Jones have an opportunity to speak in front of the board. We want his case heard. We want it heard quickly and we want him back,” said Anita Bland.

Hundreds gathered at Town Square. That included students past and present, along with their parents and neighbors.

“Everyday in school when I go, I don’t come there (thinking), ‘Oh gosh, it’s school.’ I go with some excitement,” rising sophomore Mason Bland said.

“He means the world to everyone in that school. He is more than a principal. He has been there for every single person,” said another rising sophomore in Dalton Brigman.

Jones didn’t attend himself. Instead, a parent read a message from him.

“I am honored and humbled by the outpouring of support and would like to thank each and every one of you in person. However, I have been directed that I must not discuss my job status or the investigation with the school community,” Kim Winslow read his message aloud.

Students will return to class Monday, but they said they’ll continue their fight to bring Jones back.

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