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BOE rejects suspension for Jonesboro administrator

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Jonesboro High School Assistant Principal Sandra Nicholson will not receive the three-day suspension recommended earlier this month by a school system tribunal.

Nicholson was under scrutiny because she previewed a routine that Jonesboro's now-disbanded dance team planned to perform at a Jan. 13 boy's basketball game.

The routine included the female dance-team members wearing short shorts, tight shirts and thigh-high stockings, while performing simulated lap dances for male students in chairs set up on the gym floor.

The Clayton County Board of Education voted 7-2 Monday to issue Nicholson a letter of reprimand, instead of suspending her. Board members Mary Baker and Wanda Smith voted against the change in punishment.

"We just felt like a letter of reprimand would be a fair punishment," School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson said. "She has to be held accountable for her actions. The board took a stand, and made its decision."

Nicholson did not see the dancers in the risque costumes they planned to wear during the performance, and the male students were not present when the routine was shown to the assistant principal, according to her attorney, Keith Martin.

School system officials originally wanted to suspend Nicholson for three days, but she refused to accept the punishment. The suspension was then increased to five days.

At that point, she requested a personnel tribunal, during which School System General Counsel Julie Lewis asked tribunal officers to terminate Nicholson's employment.

The officers recommended instead that the original punishment of a three-day suspension be imposed.

Martin said he was happy for his client, but declined to comment further until he receives something in writing from the school board, which determined that a letter of reprimand would be Nicholson's only punishment.