A series of recent events will ensure that Monday's scheduled meeting of the Blevins School District Board will be highly anticipated and watched in that community.
A series of recent events will ensure that Monday’s scheduled meeting of the Blevins School District Board will be highly anticipated and watched in that community.
On Friday, Sept. 1, right before the Labor Day weekend, the Blevins School Board had called a “Special Board Meeting” at 5:30 p.m. The Hope Star and other media outlets, including Channel 7 in Little Rock had received notification from Board Secretary Laura Clark that morning.
As the School Board meeting room was packed, the meeting was eventually aborted due to a lack of quorum. With a seven-member board, only three, include Clark, showed up.
"It has been 10 minutes and you can see there are only three members present and so we will not be able to continue with this special called board meeting," Clark announced to the group.
Officially, the meeting was to deal with a “resignation for a bus driving situation,” but Clark nor any other school board member publicly identified what the situation was or the bus driver.
But unofficially, the meeting was expected to address an alleged incident between Blevins Superintendent Billy Lee and a parent, who was identified to the media after the meeting as Bridget McClure. Lee also drives a bus for the Blevins district.
McClure had a makeshift press conference in the school’s parking lot, claiming she talked to Lee about an incident on the bus, because of those students was her son, and he went to his car and came back with a gun.
On Wednesday, Lee’s attorney from Prescott, Stayton Rowe speaking for his client said that “Media depictions of the Blevins situation, such as what was shown on television, have been unfair and upsetting to Mr. Lee. There is actually school security video, which shows something very different than the story the parent told.”
As the Hope Star was preparing for an early press time Thursday afternoon, the video was not available, but a pending FOIA request will make it available for the media.
According to a Hempstead County Sheriff's report, Lee was encountering trouble with two students, who were described as disruptive while on the school bus he was driving. Lee, then ejected the students off the bus and allegedly said they were not allowed to ride for a while.
McClure in comments to both Channel 7, which were aired from Little Rock that Friday, and the Hope Star, she said "When I met him here, and when he got off the bus, it was not there. It didn't get there until he went to his vehicle and got out of the vehicle. That was out of character and unprofessional for you to do that."
Rowe said on behalf of Lee on Wednesday that school video showed “No gun or weapon was involved. The accusations are false. The video speaks for itself.”
Lee did not attend the special meeting last Friday, but Barbara Patterson, a Blevins City Council member, and McClure’s mother, was, and she said, "If you haven't done anything, you shouldn't have to hide anything. If you're going to run a school, or run a place, it should be done right and decent and in order."
As for Friday’s aborted meeting, Shannon Peck and Carl McGill were the other school board members present with Clark.
After the meeting failed to meet a quorum, McGill appealed for calm saying, “I know it seemed like the process didn’t work today, but please support the school and keep doing what you are doing. Be involved.”