Lawsuit against Robeson County School Board over superintendent search dropped

Lawsuit against Robeson County School Board over superintendent search dropped

ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) – A lawsuit filed against the Robeson County School Board by two minors in regards to the process they went through to hire a new superintendent has been dropped.

Joshua Malcolm, legal counsel for the two plaintiffs, confirmed Friday the case was dismissed through a volunteer decision of the parties involved. Suits had been filed against the board and against the six board members.

The suit alleged the process the board went through to buy out former superintendent Tommy Lowry's contract and hire a new one went against district policy.

Malcolm noted the plaintiffs did not ask for any monetary compensation in the lawsuit, but that the "inappropriate" hiring of proposed superintendent candidate Thomas Graves be halted; the board follow the guidance of the North Carolina School Board process when hiring a superintendent; that a judge or jury rule the school board members violated the open meeting law; and that school board members go through supplemental training on ethics.

Regarding Graves, the Virginia educator was initially set to become the new head of the Robeson County School District, at a salary of $180,000 a year.

At a Jan. 17 emergency school board meeting, the members voted to rescind the offer to Graves, which elicited cheers from the crowd in attendance at the meeting.

Malcolm said the lawsuit was filed on the morning of Jan. 17. He added he learned Graves' offer may be rescinded at the meeting, but was not certain of that.

Immediately after the filing, Malcolm said he and the attorney for the Robeson County School District started talking about how to remedy the situation.

As it stands, Dr. Shanita Wooten, the interim superintendent, will stay in place until Feb. 15 or the next school board meeting.

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