Calhoun County Schools

By: Hermelinda Vargas
By: Hermelinda Vargas

A controversy brewing in Calhoun County packs tonight’s school board meeting in that county. The controversy began with the dispute between the principal at Altha School and one of its teachers for developmentally challenged students.

But it has evolved into something more.

Kiki Simms is a teacher in Jackson County, but tonight she’s speaking to her former school board in Calhoun County

The former Altha School teacher says she resigned a month ago following verbal attacks, including profanity, from the school’s principal, Harriet Peacock.

Simms is also accusing Calhoun County Superintendent, Tommy McClellan of seeking retaliation against her through her current Jackson County employer.

Ms. Simms says, "There's some very painful things in here that I don't want to share with the school board. I'd rather school board. I'd rather talk to Mr. McClellan in person, and in front of counsel to reveal what was sent to my Superintendent that I work for now."

Superintendent McClellan denies making any harassing phone calls as alleged by Simms. He says, "I've got a phone bill. There will be no phone calls to Kiki Simms in Jackson County. I'll put my political reputation on that." He also says that the blue envelope he sent Jackson County’s Superintendent, Danny Simms, amounted to news coverage of the circumstances of Kiki Simms’ resignation.

Principal Peacock didn’t speak on her own behalf at Friday night’s meeting, but several teachers and former colleagues did.

Supporters of Simms also spoke up, including several parents who say the problem between her, her former principal, and her former superintendent began when some of Simms’ developmentally challenged students were excluded from certain school-wide activities.

Some of these parents say their children were witness to Principal Peacock yelling at Simms.

Kiki Simms was represented by the teacher’s union lawyer for Jackson County at Friday night’s meeting. She says she wants to resolve the problem with Superintendent McClellan and his lawyer.


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