The Trussville City Schools Board of Education on Friday accepted Superintendent Dr. Pattie Neill's request for administrative leave following a scandal over a student’s “death notebook” discovered nearly a year ago.
At the special called meeting, board members vowed to conduct a third-party investigation during the superintendent's 60-day absence to find out how the notebook went unreported for so long while hidden inside the desk of Hewitt-Trussville High School principal Tim Salem.
Salem was placed on administrative leave earlier in the week after details of the notebook were released by the Trussville Police Department.
The notebook was first discovered in October 2021. It had 40 names of people, including 37 students, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and their methods of death. At that time, Trussville Police Chief Eric Rush said the police department, which provides school resource officers for the school, was not notified. Furthermore, the parents of the children on the list were not notified until last week after the same student made a second threat.
The student, who is in 11th grade, was placed in an alternative school for 20 days. Rush said there is a plan for the student to be evaluated before he is allowed to return to Hewitt-Trussville High School.
The city of Trussville held a press conference Tuesday morning to address the situation. Mayor Buddy Choat, Police Chief Eric Rush, Police Capt. Greg Cardwell, city council liaison to the school board Lisa Bright and council member Ben Short all stood and took questions from the public.
Later that evening, dozens of parents came forward at the Trussville City Council meeting to voice concerns. Many of the parents complained about Neill and what they called a “lack of communication” over the past several years.
Amid calls for her termination, Neill has agreed to speak with some parents and, in some cases, meet with them over their concerns.
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