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Tribunal rules in favor of assistant principal

Shakhan accused of excessive force to restrain

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
Attorney Borquaye Thomas (left) sits with his client, Genghis Shakhan, Tuesday during a Clayton County Public Schools employment hearing. Shakhan is an assistant principal at Riverdale High School accused of unnecessarily restraining students in three separate incidents last October.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Attorney Borquaye Thomas (left) sits with his client, Genghis Shakhan, Tuesday during a Clayton County Public Schools employment hearing. Shakhan is an assistant principal at Riverdale High School accused of unnecessarily restraining students in three separate incidents last October.

JONESBORO — A three-member panel has ruled in favor of assistant principal Genghis Shakhan keeping his job with Clayton County Public Schools.

The tribunal did not accept the superintendent’s recommendation to fire Shakhan and is advising no disciplinary action be taken against Shakhan. The decision came after five days of testimony and deliberations.

Shakhan is an administrator at Riverdale High School. He was accused of using unnecessary force to restrain students in three separate altercations in October.

The district’s attorney, Winston Denmark, argued that none of the incidents on Oct. 19 nor Oct. 23 rose to the level of posing a physical threat that would justify Shakhan’s use of force.

Shakhan and his attorney, Borquaye Thomas, answered the charges during the employment hearing that began Feb. 20. Hearing officer Stephanie Banks presided over the case with tribunal members Linda Holloman, Samuel Jackson and Arletta Brinson.

Thomas said his client is waiting for the tribunal’s recommendation to be heard by the Clayton County Board of Education, which will decide Shakhan’s fate in a vote expected to come within the next two weeks.

Shakhan is still on administrative leave.

“He’s ready to return back to work,” said Thomas. “We’re going to ask that he be reassigned to another school. [However,] we don’t have any authority to force the district to transfer him some place else. Mr. Shakhan is willing to go anywhere the district sees fit.”

Thomas questioned the district’s training in handling unruly high school students and de-escalating potentially harmful situations.

“This is a situation where an administrator was punished for doing his job protecting himself, the students and the school,” he said.

Thomas said he believes the district should be more clear and direct in how to deal with rowdy teenagers, particularly adult-sized youth.

“If that is what the school district wants, then I would challenge them to put that in writing,” he said. “Give educators more direction and training on how to handle certain situations.”