I just posted an article about David Butts outlining the district's charges against Calvin Ellis. Butts said that Ellis is not guilty of all 26 charges. You can read that story here. Tomorrow's story also contains some complaints that Butts made about the way the district has handled the situation. About 50 parents and students attended tonight's meeting.
One thing that I asked Butts that did not make either story was why he decided to release the charges.
"Intense inquiry from the media," he said.
He continued: "We believe the parents want to know. I think they should know in advance of the hearing and that the public should know what the charges are against him. We are not afraid of these charges."
I also asked Butts why Ellis has chosen to fight this given that if he wins, he will be going back to a potentially awkward situation (a job that he had been fired from).
"I think Calvin is just commited to the choral department and the kids and that commitment drives him here," he said.
I asked Ellis the same question.
"I worry about that but my faith carries me enough to say I can be strong enough for those kids to face issues that come with returning," he said. "The kids will be what motivates me every day."
Finally, the full list of charges may not make it into tomorrow's article because of its length so I have included it below:
The charges against Calvin Ellis
Ellis’ attorney David Butts released on Thursday the charges made by the school district in dismissing Ellis. What was released was not the actual letter that the district gave to Ellis but Butts’ summation of those charges:
• Violating Copyright Laws
• Failing to timely get copyright permissions so Wave Connection could perform
• Refusing to talk to the other choral teacher
• Failing to work with the other choral teacher
• Damaging the other choral teacher’s reputation by saying, “Sound Wave is going to be awful this year.”
• Manipulating chorus students’ schedules for him to get the best students
• Claiming he was Director of Choral Activities when he was not
• Endangering students by leaving three behind at a Mall on a field trip in Alabama
• Endangering students by leaving them on the streets of Birmingham trying to find food
• Sending a bus home without a staff member on it
• Squandering Booster Club money on choreographers
• Tutoring students for pay during school hours
• Violating school policy by making tardy students run laps around the PAC
• Letting Sound Wave and Wave Connection “trash” a room at the Petal competition
• Letting boys and girls change in the same room at the Petal competition
• Getting paid by the Booster Club while he was an officer (officers serve without compensation)
• Charging the Booster Club for arrangements already done by other arrangers
• Charging the Booster Club for arranging music that was never used
• Charging the Booster Club for arranging, which was covered in your supplemental pay
• Lying to the Booster Club about the status of copyrights
• Encouraging students to boycott or drop out of Wave Connection
• Intimidating, threatening or coercing students not to attend class
• Keeping students out after midnight in violation of Tupelo curfew law
• Failing to get prior administration approval for “Hair and Make-up” and “Team Building” night
• Entering into contracts committing TPSD without authority
• Stealing Booster Club money by charging personal expenses on the Booster Club credit card