Independence High School Principal Dr. Todd Campbell, due in court on Feb. 2 to face charges of DUI-2nd Offense, had his court date pushed to April 5 at 9 a.m. in Davidson County’s Birch Building Courtroom 3C.
Campbell was named the Middle Tennessee Principal of the year just a few days after the incident that led to his arrest.
On Oct. 24 at about 7 p.m., Campbell got into an accident with another driver on Nolensville Road. Before attempting to leave the scene he tried to settle the matter by offering to give the other driver cash because he did not want to get into trouble, according to a police affidavit.
State Trooper Christopher Burrel arrived on the scene at about 8:30 p.m. and, after smelling alcohol and noticing Campbell’s watery, bloodshot eyes, performed standard field sobriety tests (SFTS)- the one’s that go: stand on one leg, follow my finger, and walk a straight line.
The principal, to Burrel’s eyes, failed the exams. Campbell agreed to have blood taken to test his BAC.
He told the officer he drank three beers and a grey goose vodka before driving.
In Tennessee a second DUI conviction carries a minimum sentence of 45 days in jail and a $600 fine; a maximum of 11 months, 29 days in jail and a $3,500 fine, along with a two year license suspension.
Campbell, principal at Independence since 2008, faces his second DUI charge and third driving offense in the past ten years.
In April 2008 he was charged in Davidson County with driving on a suspended license but the case was dismissed.
In May 2009 he was charged with his first DUI– after police pulled him over for doing 52 mph in a 35 mph zone on Bell Road the officer noticed Campbell’s “speech was slurred, eyes were bloodshot, smelled strongly of an intoxicant and unsteady on his feet,” according to the police affidavit.
After, to the officer’s eyes, failing the SFSTs Campbell was arrested, taken to jail and given a breath test which showed he had a BAC of .21 percent. He admitted to drinking three beers.
Campbell served four days in jail and nearly a year of probation, in addition to losing his license and paying fines.
Independence and Williamson County Schools administrators stuck with him after this first DUI, but has given no indication of what, if any, action it will take this time.
They have been quoted to several sources as saying that they will not consider the matter until after it has been adjudicated.
On the one hand, Campbell is obviously a gifted administrator and a valuable asset to a growing, thriving high school. On the other hand, his personal mistakes and poor decision-making reflect terribly on his position as a role model. A principal is not just an administrator but the face of a school, and must set an example with his behavior not just on the job but at all times.
It is sad and a bit of a paradox to see a person so obviously skilled and intelligent make decisions that are so obviously neither.