News and Tribune

Clark County

October 26, 2012

Sexton says no litigation for now against Greater Clark

Former JHS principal said attorney was hired as a precaution

JEFFERSONVILLE — Though he has legal representation at his side, former Jeffersonville High School Principal James Sexton said he doesn’t plan to bring any litigation against Greater Clark County Schools yet after he was reassigned from his job Thursday.

He said though he’s been reassigned to Clark County Middle/High School, the decision still needs approval from Greater Clark’s board of trustees at a Nov. 7 meeting.

Clay Culotta, Sexton’s attorney, said he doesn’t know what to expect in the weeks to come, but said he came into the situation because Sexton wanted to cover his bases.

“I got involved because when Mr. Sexton was placed on administrative leave and not knowing what was going on and so forth, he really just sort of contacted me out of an abundance of caution,” Culotta said. “He’s not a man that just leaves things to chance and therefore, he simply wanted to ask questions and have someone he could talk to.”

But at least one board member is not pleased with the decision made by Greater Clark Superintendent Andrew Melin.

Becka Christensen, a Greater Clark board member campaigning for re-election, said she was not informed about the reassignment before community members were asking her about it.

“I had no idea that was coming before the texts came to me and the release was sent to media,” Christensen said. “And I [wasn’t invited to] talk to the superintendent until 4 p.m. [Friday] to hear what the whole community already knew. I am less than pleased with our superintendent. What has been left out in the community is innuendo, suspicion, and we did not clear a staff member’s [Sexton’s] name.”

She said she’s not sure other board members weren’t informed about the decision before it became public, and not getting the information from Melin was “unacceptable and unprofessional.”

But she also said she’s not sure how Melin could come to a decision about the leadership philosophies of a principal so quickly.

“I'm absolutely dumbfounded that the superintendent has arrived at this position in such a short time with Greater Clark,” Christensen said. “The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but the majority of the people I have come into contact with have supported the changes made at Jeff High since Mr. Sexton arrived there.”

Melin said some issues were brought to his attention, though he did not say what they were or who alerted him, that spurred the investigation and administrative leave of Sexton. He said he had an obligation to review those concerns.

“I think the key factor, as I said, in my role, when things come to my attention, it is my responsibility to investigate those situations and try to honor the privacy rights of those individuals as best I can,” Melin said. “I did my best effort not only to respect those privacy rights, but also conduct a thorough investigation of the issues brought to my attention.”

A call to school board President Christina Gilkey on Friday was not returned as of press time.

Sexton said he didn’t have anything to say other than to wish the football team luck on their game Friday night.

“I’m hoping that the Red Devils win tonight against Evansville North,” Sexton said. “The only thing I need to say is ‘Go, Devils.’”

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