Protesters against hiring Laurens Co. elementary school principal


The Laurens Co. District 55 School Board recently approved the hire of Zakaria Watson as principal of Ford Elementary School.

Parents are protesting after learning that Watson was charged in 2003 for an incident involving an exchange of gunfire.

The superintendent says those charges were vacated after the incident was found to be self defense.

The school board also released a statement this week standing by the hire.

They point out Watson had to undergo various background checks in order to receive his teaching and administrative credentials.

Some parents still aren’t satisfied.

They are planning a protest for Friday.

Below is a statement released by the district:

On Monday, May 23, 2016 the Laurens County School District 55 Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the Superintendent-elect’s recommendation for principal at for Elementary School. Over the past few days, concerns have been expressed about this action. It is not common procedure for the Board to address personnel matters in a public manner; however, the Board will address this situation with an official state at this time.

The Laurens County School District 55 Board of Trustees is fully committed to the advancement of the child in the school district. The Board is confident with the decision to hire Dr. Stephens G. Peters as the incoming superintendent. The Board is also confident that under the leadership of Dr. Peters, District 55 will continue to move forward. The Board supports the recommendation made by Dr. Peters to hire Mr. Zakaria Watson as the principal of Ford Elementary School.

Mr. Watson holds current and valid teaching and administrative credentials in both Georgia and South Carolina. In order to hold these credentials in South Carolina and individual must undergo a series of various background checks including FBI and SLED.

Mr. Watson is an accomplished educator as evidenced by his achievements. During his career, Mr. Watson has served as a teacher, assistant football coach, assistant principal, and associate superintendent. Some of his achievements include being recognized as Teacher of the Year, receiving the Distinguished Title I School Award, Reward School for Academic Progress Award and the Governor’s Award for Academic Gains. He currently has 18 years in the field of education. We look forward to Mr. Watson and his family joining District 55.

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