A principal from Gastonia, in Gaston County, North Carolina, has decided to retire abruptly from his post. The announcement was made late Tuesday night in the wake of the principal accusing a nine year old student of sexual harassment. The principal, Jerry Bostic, was told by the Gaston County School District that he had one hour to decide whether to quit or to be fired. Bostic told this to the Gaston Gazette and WSOCTV.
“One mistake in 44 years, and I’m not given the benefit of the doubt. I really don’t believe I was treated fairly,” Bostic told Eyewitness News.
The student in question, Emanyea, was suspended from Brookside Elementary for two days as a result of the sexual harassment claim, which was overheard by a teacher. The teacher claims hearing Emanyea call another teacher ‘cute.’ The mother of Emanyea, Chiquita Lockett, said her son was unfairly treated for the comment.
In the school’s claim of sexual harassment, officials said the boy also used the word ‘fine’ in a suggestive tone. Emanyea had also been reprimanded in regards to calling other students bad words. The sexual harassment story has gone viral since it appeared on WSOCTV, appearing on sites such as Fox News, CNN, and the Huffington Post. The story has also appeared on blogs and in newspapers across the country.
On Tuesday, the Gaston County School District released a statement regarding the situation, which they claim was a misunderstanding and that there was no sexual harassment.
“We regret this situation happened. The superintendent has attempted to contact the family to offer an apology to the parents and student. The school system is also sending an official letter of apology to the parents and student,” the statement says in part.
The school district also announced that the suspension will not be counted against the record of Emanyea and that additional instruction will be provided to him as a result of the time missed from class.
“This is something that everyone needed to see,” Lockett said, “just to see what’s happening within our school systems.”
Lockett said on Tuesday that she more than likely will pursue legal action as a result of the suspension for her son’s suspension and being accused of sexual harassment. The principal, Bostic, was working in the midst of his 44th year with the Gaston County School District and it was his 35th year as an administrator for the district. Bostic had been at the Brookside Elementary school for the previous 15 years, according to WSOCTV.
Sexual harassment has become a major problem across the country over the past couple of decades, more so in companies than in schools, but the problem can still arise in educational settings.