Huntsville BOE won't censure member over accusations of ‘eccentric’ behavior

Huntsville BOE won't censure member over accusations of ‘eccentric’ behavior
Huntsville school board member Pam Hill at a meeting on Feb. 1, 2018. (Source: Huntsville City Schools)
Huntsville City Board of Education member Pam Hill's responded to behavioral accusations on Facebook. (Source: Facebook)
Huntsville City Board of Education member Pam Hill's responded to behavioral accusations on Facebook. (Source: Facebook)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Huntsville City Board of Education is not moving forward with the censure request of board member Pam Hill.

Board president Elisa Ferrell sought the censure by outlining accusations of impairment and "eccentric" behavior. She requested a censure by the Huntsville BOE and superintendent of the Alabama Department of Education.

Some people at the board meeting expressed disappointment with the decision, saying they wanted some kind of action taken so that the board could move past this whole censure process and get back to the issues that affect the students.

Most of the those who attended support Hill but ultimately want the divisiveness of the board to end.

"We have a problem with teacher retention. Then there's transportation issues. There's budget issues. We just have a lot of problems. We're not going to solve them if we don't work together," said Ferrell.

Ferrell says this was her last play to help the system, as she says Hill's actions put the accreditation in jeopardy.

The board has undergone an accreditation review with AdvancEd for the past year. A loss of accreditation could lead to state intervention.

According to Ferrell, AdvancEd outlined the following areas of concern:

  • Lack of adherence to roles and responsibilities
  • Some board members do not understand their roles in regards to mediation with the Alabama School Board Association
  • Some board members have trouble leaving personal agendas behind
  • Some board members do not have a clear distinction between their role as a board member and their role as a community member
  • Some board members visit classrooms to observe and email or call teachers to gather information. This violates Alabama Code.
  • Some board members ask for personnel files or other reports at the system level without consulting the superintendent. This is in violation of Alabama Code

Ferrell said she has received anonymous complaints about Hill's behavior at community meetings and in the central office. She said Hill has acted impaired, slurring her speech. Ferrell referred to video of three board meeting, including Aug. 24, 2017, Jan. 9, 2018, and Feb. 1, 2018.

In the video from the Feb. 1, Hill is seen standing up to curtsy and then taking a sip from a tumbler. After she takes a sip, she says, "It's just Coke.'

Ferrell also said Hill used graphic language before an executive session on Dec. 1, 2016. According to Ferrell, Hill said "she wanted to chop off the penis of a former employee and hold it in her hands." According to Ferrell, a board member told her the statement was inappropriate, and the school board attorney told her she could not discuss things not related to the executive session.

The document also states Hill heckled the state school superintendent during a spring training conference in 2017.

According to Ferrell, the AdvanEd team interviewed each member of the BOE. The interview brought in a second person for Hill's interview as a witness to Hill's statements about actions in violation of Alabama code.

""The allegations are false and politically motivated. I prefer focusing on the students of HCS," said Hill.

On her Facebook page, Hill posted "Since last 'Censure' post, I have received 5 pages of singled spaced accusations. Most, if not all, 100% FALSE."

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