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Mary LaBotz met special needs at H-F High School

The community will have two hours on Thursday, June 30, to share their views about the dismissal of Homewood-Flossmoor High School Principal Ryan Pitcock.

The 6:30 p.m. special meeting of the District 233 board of education will take place in the high school’s Mall Auditorium in the South Building. The meeting will include public comment, as well as information on the appointment of a new principal and the process to fill a school board vacancy.

The board bought out the last year of Pitcock’s contract at a special meeting on June 21. He had served as principal for eight years.

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It is reported on social media the board vote was 5-2 for the dismissal, although neither Jodi Bryant, director of public relations and human resources, nor Richard Lites, president of the school board, will confirm the vote.

The announcement of the action against Pitcock was made June 22. On that day, board member David Mayer resigned after having served for 11 years. He will not say if his resignation was the direct result of the board’s actions against Pitcock.

The special meeting on Thursday will open with 10 minutes of remarks by the school board members, and will be followed by two hours of community comments.

Participants will be asked to sign in if they wish to speak, and are asked to keep remarks to three minutes or less. The time restraint is meant to give all interested participants a chance to address the board, Bryant said.

“Out of respect for Dr. Pitcock and pursuant to employee confidentiality laws, the board is unable to disclose, and will not disclose, specific information regarding its decision to terminate Dr. Pitcock’s contract or the board’s decision making process,” Bryant said.

Bryant also denied repeated rumors that the board’s action was the result of Pitcock’s decision to deny a student’s attendance at prom because of her use of the N-word in a talent show.

“The decision was not based upon a single incident and was completely unrelated to the recent H-F Student Talent Show, in which the board and (Superintendent) Dr. (Von) Mansfield were completely supportive of Dr. Pitcock’s actions,” according to the prepared statement.

The third segment of the meeting will be an announcement of the process for the principal’s search. Bryant said the district will consider applicants from across the country. It is expected a new principal will be in place by July 1, 2017.

The fourth segment of the meeting will be an announcement of the process to fill the board seat vacated by Mayer. The new board member will be appointed and will serve until the next election in April 2017.

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