NAACP questions FCPS’s handling of Dunbar principal situation

NAACP questions FCPS’s handling of Dunbar principal situation
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 10:14 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Lexington NAACP is questioning Fayette County Public Schools about the principal of Dunbar High School.

Marlon Ball is on administrative leave right now.

In early November, Ball sent an email to the Dunbar community announcing the passing of athletic director Jason Howell. The next day, another email was sent, this one from FCPS announcing Ball was placed on administrative leave.

FCPS says they are investigating several complaints.

The NAACP says there appears to be “procedural mishandling, action and treatment” of the principal.

“It really is about the timing and about the mishandling of...we think it could have been handled better,” said Whit Whitaker, President of Lexington-Fayette NAACP.

In a statement (read it below), the organization raised questions. One, whether the district’s email sparked rumors unfairly tying the principal to the athletic director’s death.

Whitaker says he believes the district’s email, and the timing of it, was “the spark that caused rumors of unfairly tying” Ball to the death of Howell.

The NAACP says the district should’ve acted swiftly and more responsibly to take control of the situation and discourage any connection between the two.

“He is being burdened with the untruth that he’s responsible for a tragic death,” said Whitaker.

Whitaker says the decision to make a statement on this matter is not about whether or not Ball should keep his job.

“It’s about policy and procedure and making sure that it is applicable to everyone equally,” said Whitaker. “It is about how this was mishandled and it is about the district failing to get out in front of this to control the narrative.”

We reached out to FCPS for comment regarding the NAACP’s letter.

Spokesperson Lisa Deffendall called the NAACP’s statement “inaccurate.”

The NAACP raises the question of why the district didn’t address the alleged complaints against Ball sooner. In response, Deffendall told us the district’s actions concerning personnel issues are “not a matter of public record,” adding that the NAACP would not be privy to steps taken by the district.

Deffendal also said, “there was no district email to families at Dunbar in which the death of the athletic director and the administrative leave of the principal were both mentioned. Those two incidents were linked solely in online comments by private citizens and subsequent media coverage.”

The emails sent to families regarding the death of Howell and Ball being placed on administrative leave were sent separately. However, when WYKT initially reached out to Deffendall for a statement regarding Marlon Ball, she said:

Our FCPS community is grieving Mr. Howell’s passing along with the staff, students, and families at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. When one of our schools is hurting, the impact is felt districtwide.

We are aware of the concerns raised by members of the Dunbar staff. Reports of this nature are taken seriously and will be fully investigated. Per our normal human resources procedures, Dunbar Principal Marlon Ball has been placed on administrative leave. As with any personnel matter, we are unable to comment further.

This is a developing story.