Former Monroe Assistant Principal Joey James, right, and his attorney, Chris West, sit before a Dougherty School Board administrative hearing in January.
ALBANY, Ga. — With three members absent, the Dougherty County School Board voted 4-0 Wednesday at a disciplinary hearing to terminate the contract of Monroe High School Assistant Principal Joey James.
School Board Members James Bush, Velvet Riggins and Milton “June Bug” Griffin were absent from the hearing.
In April 2011, James was charged with two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery against a paraprofessional. At that time, he was the principal at Southside Middle School.
He was suspended twice for a total of 25 days with pay as a result of those charges.
James went on trial for the battery charges in June 2012, but Dougherty County State Court Judge John Salter ruled a mistrial after improper testimony from a witness. No retrial has been scheduled.
In December, the state’s Professional Standards Commission revoked all of James’ teaching certifications and the Dougherty County School System suspended him without pay.
“The facts in this case are simple,” school system attorney Flin Coleman said. “Dr. James has violated the terms of his contract by failing to continue to hold his certification and credentials.
“The board really has no choice but to terminate his contract.”
James’ attorney, Chris West, urged the board to wait until after a hearing before Dougherty Superior Court Judge Willie Lockette on Feb. 6 in which James is seeking a stay of the PSC’s certification revocations.
“This action is premature due to the pending appeal in Dougherty County Superior Court,” West said. “All we are asking is for you to wait until Judge Lockette makes a decision. If the judge turns down the appeal, then Dr. James will voluntarily resign.”
That offer was not good enough for Interim School Superintendent Butch Mosely.
“If at such time (James’) appeal is granted, then we’d take another look at the situation,” Mosely said.
Aside from the sexual battery charges, James could have addition legal issues.
Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards said last week that charges could still be filed stemming from an incident in the Monroe cafeteria where James forcefully broke up a fight between two female students.
Video of the incident is widely available online, including at www.albanyherald.com.