MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Board of Education called a special meeting Thursday evening. Allegations of misconduct at Trezevant High School as well as Superintendent Dorsey Hopson's contract were both on the agenda.
Many teachers and parents spoke passionately at the meeting, and discussion became rather heated at times.
“Superintendent Dorsey Hopson has gained the community’s trust," community activist and Bishop E. Lynn Brown said, evoking a feeling of preaching from the pulpit.
Others also passionately supported the superintendent, whose contract was renewed in May.
“Dorsey Hopson is one of ours," one woman said.
"We have a superintendent who is beloved and respected," said Barbara Hodge, principal of Barret's Chapel School in Arlington.
At the meeting, Hopson spoke for the first time since former Trezevant Principal Ronnie Mackin released a scathing resignation letter detailing a grade scandal and other ethical and legal violations at the Frayser school.
Hopson said an outside company is auditing grades district-wide now. The district also brought in three people from the outside to investigate. The team includes former U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton, Paul Adams and J. Scott Newton.
“The investigation isn’t done. We still have more things to do to regain the public trust,” he said.
He also expressed sympathy for Mackin and praised his actions for coming forward with the grade indiscretions.
But emotions ran high for the board as well. Members said Hopson left them in the dark regarding the length and breadth of the ongoing investigation.
“This is very personal to me," said board member Stephanie Love, whose district includes Trezevant High. "The biggest thing we now have to do is begin to build back trust because trust has been destroyed."
In the end, the board voted to keep Hopson as superintendent but revisit his contract and possibly make changes within the next 10 days.