BUTLER, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Concerned Citizens of Taylor County faced the Board of Education in court Friday morning.
More than 200 citizens filed a lawsuit against the school board after former superintendent Dr. Gary Gibson was terminated in September 2016.
“My preference would be to take the matter of the motion to dismiss under advisement and get you a ruling within thirty days,” said Judge Gil McBride in the court hearing on Friday.
Dr. Gibson wasn’t involved in the lawsuit, but he was there in court Friday morning.
“It means a lot to me that there’s a group of people in this county who are concerned about the kids first,” said Dr. Gibson. “That was always my number one priority, was taking care of kids.”
The main argument for the citizens was that Rufus Green, who voted in favor of firing Gibson, voted illegally. The Georgia law states a person cannot serve on the board if they have an immediate family member working for the school district. In this case, Green’s daughter in law is a principal in the district.
“In a case of nepotism, you’re out of office,” said citizens’ attorney, Mitchell Graham. “That’s how important and how essential it is that these members of the board of education be beyond reproach.”
The school district acknowledged this claim, but said if this vote was revisited, all other cases Green voted on would have to be revisited as well.
While there were many who attended the hearing for Gibson, there were some former teachers who supported the board.
“Everyone’s not sad that he’s gone,” said Kay Giles, former Taylor County teacher. “There are a lot of educators are glad he’s gone from the school system.”
They said not all teachers were treated fairly. When asked if she would say how, she said, “I don’t know that we should comment on things.”
Gibson says no matter what the judge rules, this case says a lot about the county.
“This will change the landscape in Taylor County and the school district I believe, will begin to be about kids first and not about some adults,” said Dr. Gibson.
The school district’s lawyer, Brian Adams, could not talk on camera but he did say based on Friday’s arguments, he thinks the judge will rule in the school board’s favor.
Judge McBride will have a ruling by April 28th.