Investigation of schools over, analysis underway

Published 10:08pm Monday, August 5, 2013

Nearly two months have passed since the Alabama Department of Education initiated an internal investigation regarding numerous allegations of sexual misconduct within the Selma City School System. And Monday Dr. Craig Pouncey, chief of staff of the Alabama State Department of Education, who is supervising the investigation on behalf of State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice said the investigation is now over.

“The investigators are kind of finalizing what their findings may or may not have been, and they’re in the process of trying to draft a report,” Pouncey said Monday.

Bice notified Selma City Schools Superintendent Gerald Shirley and members of the Selma City School Board of Education in a letter dated June 13 that the state department was looking into allegations of inappropriate sexual activity involving Selma City School employees and students during school hours, at school-sponsored events and on school property.

Two investigators were sent into the school system to examine, “every possible avenue,” Pouncey said, whether it be documents, files, media data or personal reports.

Pouncey said the next step for the investigators, who are still working on finalizing their findings, is to bring the information to Dr. Bice.

“We will then digest the information and probably make a formal report to the Selma City School Board,” Pouncey said, noting the state department has no official timeline for the report but estimated it will likely be prepared within the next few weeks.

The letter from the state superintendent came after his office received numerous reports and expressions of concern about improper and perhaps illegal activity allegedly occurring within the Selma City School System, in addition to the April arrest of Selma High School teacher LaTanglia Williams, 37, on charges accusing her of sexual misconduct with a student.

The investigation may be a first for the Selma City School System, but Pouncey said the board stepping in is definitely not unprecedented.

“From time to time we get called upon to conduct certain investigations for various reasons, whether it be school safety, whether it be for academics or whether it be for finance — so it’s not unprecedented,” he said.

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