Caught on Camera: Helena-West Helena school leaders fight during parent meeting

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HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Fingers were pointing and tempers flared when the Deputy Superintendent stepped in between School Board President Andrew Bagley and J.F. Wahl Principal Jewel Hamilton to keep them apart.

“I did raise my voice at some point in an effort to be heard,” Bagley said.

The video shows the heated end to a school meeting. But according to Bagley, it all started because Principal Hamilton wouldn’t listen to parents during a meeting where parents were supposed to give feedback on the fairly new academy program.

“I found it morally repugnant that she wouldn’t respond to parents,” he said.

Bagley, who is also a grandparent to one of the children at the school, says he was fed up with being ignored and asking questions but not getting answers.

“When you hold leadership roles, even when you take off that hat, it’s almost impossible to separate the two roles, because you’re a parent first.

He says in that moment, the passion of being a grandparent overtook him, and the fact that he is also a district leader took a back seat.

“I’m not happy where we are,” Bagley said.

The principal filed a police report saying Bagley tried to attack her, yelled at her and put his finger in her face.

“She filed a warrant with the police department on me saying I did things that are not true. The allegations are preposterous, I feel they are politically motivated,” the school district president said.

In response to Hamilton’s report, Bagley filed his own report with police accusing her of making false allegations.

“I’m not going allow my reputation to be sullied,” he said.

While the camera doesn’t blink and captures all, Superintendent John Hoy says he’s trying to make sure this is the last
battle between the two leaders.

“I’m talking to everyone involved in it, and I am asking questions. I’m trying to figure out ways to resolve the issues,” he said.

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