West Memphis High principal gets district's top job despite rece - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

West Memphis High principal gets district's top job despite recent issues

A majority of the board voted to hire West Memphis High School principal Jon Collins. A majority of the board voted to hire West Memphis High School principal Jon Collins.
Three West Memphis school board members voted against hiring Collins. Three West Memphis school board members voted against hiring Collins.
Police later determined a special needs student had allegedly been beaten and raped by three other boys in a bathroom. Police later determined a special needs student had allegedly been beaten and raped by three other boys in a bathroom.

(WMC-TV) – The West Memphis Public Schools hired a search firm to help find a new superintendent. But the school board ended up finding him literally just down the street.

A majority of the board voted to hire West Memphis High School principal Jon Collins.  He recently made news by addressing a violent on-campus crime.

"The only fact we were dealing with was that we had a potential robbery on campus," said Collins in March.

Police later determined a special needs student had allegedly been beaten and raped by three other boys in a bathroom.

"I don't feel like he should have got the job," said parent Keisha Gant.

She recently transferred her daughter from West Memphis to Marion High School.

"Because, I mean, I didn't feel like it was safe for her to be there," said Gant.

She was disappointed in the way the principal and other staff members handled a fight between her daughter and an ex-boyfriend, not to mention the alleged rape and an on-campus shooting during a weekend event.

"You didn't know how to handle one situation," said Gant.  "But you fixing to deal with a while lot of schools? That's just not right."

Action News 5 tried to contact the board members who voted for Collins.  We reached only one of them.  He said Collins was the most qualified.

A regional superintendent with Memphis City Schools was among those in the running as was an associate superintendent from Little Rock.

Three West Memphis school board members voted against hiring Collins.

The principal declined an on-camera interview.  However, he did give us a statement.

"I'm very honored and humbled to have this opportunity at home and look forward to serving the community and children of the West Memphis School District," said Collins.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved

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