The McIntosh County school board rescinded its firing of the McIntosh Academy principal and extended the 10-day suspension of the head football coach who was indicted last week.
Although former principal Barry Lollis is back at work, it’s not the same one.
“He’s still employed by the district, but he’s not at the high school,” county School Superintendent John Barge said.
Former head football coach Robby Robinson has since resigned, which makes the suspensions moot, Barge said.
Lollis will work at the board office on special projects “where he’s needed,” notably a state certified needs assessment that must be completed on each school and on the district.
“It’s exhaustive,” Barge said of the new mandatory paperwork. “Each document is over 100 pages. It’s going to be helpful for him to be here.”
Lollis will sit at his third desk since he was hired as McIntosh County principal at the beginning of the school year. In putting Lollis back on the payroll, the school board accepted Barge’s recommendation. When the board voted a couple of weeks ago to fire Lollis, it did so without Barge’s recommendation.
Lollis was first reassigned in the fall after he reported to the school board that a parent had complained that her son had suffered a concussion from a violent hazing incident and that she had warned a coach beforehand.
A player suffered a concussion when he was blindsided by another player during a practice. The injured player had told a coach that he had been threatened for not showing the proper respect for senior leadership on the team, the victim’s mother told the Times-Union.
The complaint triggered a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe, but rather than take action against Robinson the school board removed Lollis as McIntosh County principal and reassigned him to the alternative school. Lollis went from running a high school with nearly 500 students to a program that had only two at the time.
He was later reinstated as principal and remained there until his dismissal.
On the heels of Lollis’ discharge, a McIntosh County grand jury indicted Robinson last week on a felony charge of cruelty to children and single misdemeanor counts of hazing and reckless conduct.
Barge immediately suspended Robinson for 10 days, and the board voted Monday night to extend the suspension once it expired.
Barge said Tuesday that 10 days was the maximum he could impose without board approval, but he said Robinson had since resigned from his teaching duties. Barge already had relieved Robinson of his responsibilities in team sports, first as athletic director and then as head football coach.
“In the meantime, I’ve received a letter of resignation from coach Robinson. I’m going to recommend that the board accept it at their next meeting,” he said.
Barge acknowledged that the year has been a painful one.
“We’ve got to begin the healing process and get past this,” he said.
Terry Dickson: (912) 264-0405