BY LORCAN MCCORMICK
DRESDEN (March 3) – On Thursday, the members of the Weakley County School Board met to discuss the agenda of not only the current month, but tackle subjects from the far past and far future as well. Sympathies were extended to Kyle Pack for the tragic loss of his mother. Beau Atkins of Gleason was not in attendance for the meeting, which dove into the Termination Appeal of Bill Fuqua shortly after approving the February Minutes.
Fuqua, a teacher in the WC School System from 2006 up until his termination in March of 2020, was appealing the decision to the committee represented by John Allen of the TEA. Samuel Jackson of the Spencer Fane Bone McAllester Law Firm represented the prosecution, as it were. Both gentlemen spoke before the Board with 15 minutes presented to each, though neither took up the maximum, “although I promise to not take up all fifteen minutes,” Allen commented in his opening. Allen attacked the investigation process, claiming there were holes in the claim that Mr. Fuqua’s shop class failed to meet safety standards on a routine basis; further, while Mr. Fuqua’s defense acknowledged he was out of line in an incident involving a student, Mr. Allen pressed the board that Mr. Fuqua immediately apologized to the student and that the incident amounted to a mere outlier in a decade and a half career in WC Schools.
Mr. Jackson’s assessment was swift and piercing, with his voice taking on a stentorian quality as he quoted Mr. Fuqua’s threat to, “black his eyes,” to the student during the height of the incident. It was further elaborated that Mr. Fuqua himself posted photographs on his Facebook that showed his shop class having safety violations, and that an oversight member of the school had to ask Mr. Fuqua to take down the photographs. It is noted that past students have come forward to defend Mr. Fuqua, and that some students present for the offending photographs have claimed no tools were plugged in when the photograph was taken; it must be equally noted one photograph shows sparks coming off of a tool, indicating it most likely would have been turned on. The Board voted 7-1, upholding Mr. Fuqua’s termination. Board member Wendell Cates was the only vote against upholding the termination.
After the rather court-like drama deciding the pedagogic future of Mr. Fuqua, the Board resumed its normal clerical work setting up the future of Weakley County Schools. The consideration of the Federal Budget Resolution was added to the amended Agenda at the beginning of the Board meeting. Schedules for the 2022-2023 school year were unanimously approved (See Page 11 for a copy of the 2022-23 school year calendar), as were the schedules for 2023-2024. An update on the ESSER 3.0 COVID Disaster Relief was given, providing a mandatory six-month update on its usage, with further approval given to its agenda. An updated dress code was approved on first reading, with a second confirmation vote to take place during the April board meeting.