Ongoing Richland 2 dysfunction prompts McMaster to request investigation into district

·2 min read
Screenshot from Richland 2 live stream

Gov. Henry McMaster will ask the South Carolina inspector general to investigate the Richland 2 school district as controversies and dysfunction surround the district’s board.

The request is expected to come after state lawmakers finalize a bill, likely next month, that aims to empower the state inspector general to investigate school districts, which would include interviews of staff and board members, at the governor’s request.

“This is going to be most useful tool in the toolbox,” Brian Symmes, McMaster’s spokesman, said Wednesday.

A representative with the Richland 2 school district wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Controversy has surrounded the Richland 2 board, which at times has been dysfunctional, in recent months. Richland 2 board meetings have had a tendency to devolve into arguing and cross talk among board members. The board went as far to undergo a conflict resolution workshop to better interact with one another.

One member, Lashonda McFadden, was charged two weeks ago with making threats against another board member after an audio recording leaked of a closed session meeting that included a profanity and threats.

McFadden has since apologized.

The governor has the power to remove school board members for malfeasance and neglect of duty. His office said Wednesday that he is instead opting for the inspector general to investigate first.

“The governor thinks the best way to address this particular problem is to have the inspector general investigate the district at large,” Symmes said.

In another example, police responded to an altercation in January prior to a school board meeting. No charges were filed, but the incident involved Superintendent Baron Davis, his wife and at least two members of the public whose names were redacted from the police report.

In September, three board members walked out of a meeting prior to a board vote on changes to Davis’ contract.

“Our office has consistently heard from hundreds of parents that are concerned, not only about a singular instance where school board members are yelling at each other, but about the district’s ability to function properly,” Symmes said. “These concerns from parents are very real.”

Symmes did not specify the issues brought by parents, but said parents are concerned the dysfunction around the district leadership is hurting the learning environment for students.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting