TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill has taken a leave of absence from the school system in the wake of one of its schools failing to report threats a student had made over a year ago.
It has been a stressful two weeks for the city of Trussville as the city deals with the fallout of a “death note” originally written last October that only came to light two weeks ago.
On Friday, the Trussville School Board met for the first time since that news broke. A packed house of angry and frustrated parents filled the board chambers at the Trussville Board of Education room for the meeting.
It was standing-room only as parents, students and members of the community came forward for hours to voice their concerns of the events that have taken place over the past two weeks and the mishandling by the school system, specifically Neill. In the meeting, the board accepted Neill’s request for a 60-day paid leave of absence.
“Yes, we did approve a leave of absence for our superintendent,” said Kathy Brown, president of the school board. “We needed some space. We needed some space to do our job as a school board.”
Board Vice President Kim DeShazo said Neill will not be part of any sort of review.
“The intent is she will be absent and we will be conducting the independent investigation. If that investigation concludes sooner than 60-days, we can take action sooner,” DeShazo said.
But for the majority of the parents attending the meeting, Neill’s leave of absence was not enough. Parent James Thomas said removing Neill should be the first step.
“First and foremost, remove her, that is imperative from the public and obvious,” Thomas said.
Amy Bradford is the parent of a child whose name was allegedly on the note and said she feels Neill and the board have not done an adequate job of looking out for the students.
“Well, there’s a lot of angry parents out there and that’s to be expected, they have every right to be angry,” Bradford said. “The school board should have protected our kids, that’s what we are here for.”
The board also approved a measure to bring in an outside firm to conduct a thorough investigation of the events of the past two weeks and recommend changes that need to be made.