Hewitt-Trussville HS principal on administrative leave; Trussville City Schools parents concerned over school safety

Hewitt-Trussville High School
Hewitt-Trussville High School(Trussville City Schools)
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 6:14 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 4:44 PM CDT
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TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE FROM TRUSSVILLE CITY SCHOOLS: Hewitt-Trussville High School Principal Tim Salem was placed on administrative leave Tuesday until further notice. Joy Young, a current assistant principal, will be the acting principal at HTHS during this time. Dr. Pattie Neill, TCS Superintendent, said safety remains a first priority, and your students have been and will continue to be safe at HTHS. Dr. Neill said she met with Salem earlier today and his message to the faculty and staff is below:

Dear HTHS Staff, I wanted you to know that I’ll be on administrative leave effective immediately and Joy Young will be the acting principal while I am away. We are off to such a great start to our school year and we have some important testing coming up regarding the Pre-ACT. I want everyone to continue to stay the course with teaching and learning. Mrs. Young will do a wonderful job and will have the full support of central office. It is an honor and privilege to work with all of you and I know that our students and parents are in good hands.

Sincerely, Tim Salem

Tuesday morning Trussville city leaders and Police said they are working to answer parents’ questions regarding a quote “death notebook” that included the names of 37 different Trussville students. Mayor Buddy Choat says the list was found October 2021, and they only found out about it because a school resource officer heard that another student was threatened.

Mayor Choat tell us that only three faculty members knew of the death list’s existence. A teacher, guidance counselor and the high school principal. A fact that Mayor Choat says is unacceptable.

Police Chief Eric Rush met with parents over the weekend to answer questions and address concerns, and today he voiced his frustration with the fact that the perceived threat was not shared with his department.

“We can only do and respond to things that we are made aware of. So yea, I have been frustrated for over a week. It has been a long week and a half.” - Police Chief Eric Rush

Mayor Choat pointed to how quickly the police department jumped on the threat that was made Friday, September 16 in an effort to reduce community concern.

ORIGINAL: Trussville City Schools parents met Sunday night at a church, sharing concerns surrounding a list threatening the lives of several students. That list was allegedly created last school year, but is now coming to light.

The entire meeting lasted about 2.5 hours at Trussville Southside Baptist Church. TCS administration and media were not allowed inside. Parents who stepped out said the Trussville Police Chief answered parents’ questions during the meeting.

Parents says about a year ago, a student created what’s being called a death notebook with 37 student names. They go on to say as far as they know, nothing was done about the list at the time and they only found out about the incident after a school resource officer heard that another student was threatened more recently.

Some parents are now concerned with the lack of transparency from the administration, including Jessie Odell who is a parent of a student within the system.

“The only thing I’m worried about is the lack of transparency because our police can’t do their job without our superintendent being transparent with them and I don’t like the idea of continuing to gamble with out children’s lives,” he said.

WBRC reached out to the Trussville Police Department about the incidents. Briefly after the meeting, Trussville Police Chief Eric Rush couldn’t confirm anything besides that he answered questions about safety during the meeting. He said their public information department should be returning our request for comment.

We also reached out to Trussville City Schools about the situation. This was the response concerning a recent threat:

Yes, our office can confirm we had a student suspended for making a verbal threat. In our Code of Conduct on our website, the Code is 3.03 found on page 18.

Student Code of Conduct link: https://www.trussvillecityschools.com/cms/lib/AL50000063/Centricity/domain/36/2022-2023%20files%20and%20pdfs/Code%20of%20Conduct%2022-23%20Final%20Approved%202_28_2022.pdf

Our threat protocol was initiated immediately and we appreciate the help of Trussville Police Department in resolving this issue.

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