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Helena-West Helena School Board Member Proposes Banning Journalist from Public Meetings

Posted By Arkansas Learns, Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Earnest Simpson, Jr. is the recently former principal of Lee High School in Marianna (Lee County School District). He resigned before he could be fired after the Arkansas State Board of Education voted to take over the Lee County School District.

Among the many reasons cited for takeover of the district were multiple accreditation issues, as well as the fact that 35 of 56 seniors at the high school were not on track to graduate.

Mr. Simpson, however, still serves on the Helena-West Helena School Board, a position he also held while serving as principal in another school district.

At last night's (June 10, 2019) public board meeting, he proposed a resolution banning a former school board member - Andrew Bagley - from future public meetings because of what Mr. Bagley has written in the Helena-West Helena World newspaper. His proposal was met with multiple audible "amens."

Further, Mr. Simpson - the longtime Arkansas principal and board member - identified Brad Montgomery as director of the Arkansas Department of Education. That would be Johnny Key.

While Mr. Simpson was duly elected by the voters of his school district, his proposal, if enacted, would be both unconstitutional and in violation of the laws of the State of Arkansas.

When the State provides over 50% of the funding for the school districts of Arkansas, but has no say in the leadership of the districts it funds, this is what you get.

By the way, Helena-West Helena has been taken over by the State, not once, but twice for Fiscal Distress. Mr. Simpson is currently the subject of an ethics complaint on filed by Mr. Bagley on another issue with the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

Read the complaint and listen to Mr. Simpson's proposal in the links below:

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