Removal of Florence principal gets ugly

Parents and concerned citizens met at Wilson High School in Florence Wednesday evening to to share their frustrations with NewsChannel 15 over Wilson High's head principal, Dr. Gerard Edwards, being reassigned to the district's alternative school next term.

"I think he needs to be here. He's a man of integrity as he's a man of vision and he's been nothing but good for our children," said Thurmond Becote.

"This removal of him - perhaps the alternative school does need new leadership, but for the greater good, Dr. Edwards would be of best service here," said Dr. Bernetha George.

They argue Wilson High's rating has gone from "At Risk" to "Average" in the seven years that Edwards has been principal.

Florence School District One Board of Trustees member Alexis Pipkins, Sr. was also at Wilson High to talk with us about the situation. He says he has a child who attends the school.

Pipkins started video taping our interviews with the parents, and that's when things got a little heated.

"God own this right here. God own this and if I see my picture anywhere I don't want it to be it's going to be a problem," Becote told Pipkins.

Pipkins told Becote he had a right to record, because the school is public property.

"I thought it was wrong for him to bring his camcorder to tape your interview," said Brenda Echols, a parent. "This is an interview of TV 15, not his."

The bickering went on for about 20 minutes. We've attached the raw video to this story. You can watch it by clicking on the video player.

Parents said even though the interview got side-tracked, they hope the district will reconsider its decision to move Doctor Edwards.

"I do believe and feel that he's needed at Wilson High School," said Becote.

In an email to NewsChannel 15, district leaders say the reassignment of Doctor Edwards was a personnel matter and by law, they're not allowed to comment.

The decision to reassign Edwards was unanimous by the school board.