Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Overton Board Opens Investigation Of Schools Director

The Overton County School Board opened an investigation Tuesday night into the alleged misconduct of Director Donnie Holman.

Supervisor of Instruction for Grades 7-12 Kim Dillon said that Holman illegally recorded a conversation between her and a principal in the district in August 2022 and held onto it for nearly two years. Dillon said she was eventually told by another supervisor in a threatening manner that Holman had the recording.

“I just want people to understand that I did not go looking for this,” Dillon said. “I’ve worked for the school system for twenty-three years. I’ve never once filed a complaint, I’ve never once complained about anything, and no one has ever complained on me. I just want the opportunity for somebody to ask me a question, or ask anyone in this building a question, and just hear the truth.”

Dillon said the claim that the recording was made accidentally should not be enough to close the discussion. She said she came to the school board after her original complaint was dismissed without action.

The board asked Attorney Charles Cagle to suggest a candidate to perform the investigation. The board gave Chairman James Clouse the authority to accept his recommendation without needing to wait for the next board meeting.

Cagle said no district policies have been violated as there are no policies in place to handle when someone accidentally records someone else. Cagle said he believes there was no criminal act because of how the state laws are written and the lack of proof of intent.

“This is an action that took place between two employees that’s been appealed to the board,” Cagle said. “I think there’s substance to it. I think everybody, nobody doubts the facts here. I think there’s, we would stipulate the recording was made, the recording was revealed two years later, it was revealed in a way that I don’t understand as counsel to the board, but it was, you know, it’s there.”

Dillon said many people in the school’s office are aware that Holman records conversations had by others when he leaves the room.

“There have been oftentimes where he’s laid his phone on his desk and another supervisor will put her finger to her mouth, shushing everyone in the room and pointing to his phone,” Dillon said.

Cagle said there is no official timeline in place for the investigation, but the board can assign one after the person handling the process is chosen.

“It would be sixty days at most, and probably forty-five days,” Cagle said. “Whoever’s engaged should be told that time is of the essence.”

“I don’t know that you need a lawyer,” Cagle said. “I think you need somebody that’s seasoned in personnel practices, who comes in every time, who can come in and just do an investigation. And I don’t think it needs to be clouded with a bunch of legalese. I think it needs to be somebody with good common sense.”

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