Independence principal Dr. Todd Campbell was arrested and charged with his 2nd DUI this past October. He plead guilty to a DUI charge back in 2008, which means this is his second drunken driving offense as principal at Independence. In a sad coincidence, his arrest took place just a few days before he received an award as the middle Tennessee Principal of the Year.
Campbell has a court date in April, but parents and students who talked with us feel that as a role model, who is entrusted with not just children’s safety but molding their character, Campbell should be held to a higher standard.
A former student named Jason (he only wanted us to use his first name) said he remembers Campbell as a caring and concerned principal. However, Jason- who recalls the school districts zero tolerance policy regarding drugs and alcohol- said he feels like there is a bit of a double standard.
“I just don’t see anything coming out of this. It is his second DUI, not his first, and it’s like it’s not a big deal,” said Jason.
“For someone like in a visible, admired position like that just the appearance of wrongdoing, the accusation, should be enough to be investigated by his bosses.”
We asked Williamson County Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney about what punishment, if any, Campbell would face. We also asked him, and every member of the school board via e-mail, what punishment, if any, Campbell received for his first DUI offense.
Dr. Looney said:
“Dr. Campbell’s first DUI charge happened before I arrived in 2009. The Board does not have a policy requiring discipline of employees for being convicted of DUI. However, I have communicated to Dr. Campbell my expectations and will decide on the appropriate course of action when his case is adjudicated.”
Only one member of the school board responded, PJ Mezera, and said “This is a matter for Dr. Looney and his agents to address.”
Below are the school board’s policies regarding disciplinary action, no. 7 appears to be the most applicable to this situation.
There are different levels of discipline the district lists as available, however teachers and principals are dealt with differently than other district employees, such as bookkeepers and secretaries. Ultimately, it will be up to Dr. Looney to decide what, if any, disciplinary action to take.
As of now, the district seems content to wait for Campbell’s seemingly inevitable– judging by the police report- conviction.
“How is he still actually allowed to be going in to work every day, and interacting with and disciplining students? That is ridiculous, it is not like this is his first mistake,” said Jason.
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