Lexington Dunbar High Schools’ principal’s leave, investigation extended another 20 days

Fayette County Public Schools

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School Principal Marlon Ball’s administrative leave was extended by 20 days on Thursday, his attorney Dale Golden told the Herald-Leader.

Golden said he received no additional details.

On November 2, Ball was placed on administrative leave while Fayette County Schools investigated an allegation of inappropriate conduct, according to a letter from Fayette Superintendent Demetrus Liggins to Ball. The letter did not provide details about the alleged inappropriate conduct. The Herald-Leader obtained the letter through an Open Records Request.

Liggins did not immediately comment Thursday on the extended leave.

Without elaboration, Ball’s leave was initially announced in a district statement mourning the death of the school’s athletic director Jason Howell.

The cause of Howell’s death is being investigated as a suicide, Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn said.

Dunbar teacher Sharessa Bentley-Crovo, who is also a member of Dunbar’s school council, previously said, “We’ve all struggled under Mr. Ball’s leadership, and after losing a beloved colleague, we can’t stay quiet.“

Two parents on the school council, Melissa Rife and Brian Nurick, also previously released a message saying, “As Parent Representatives of the PLD SBDM Council, we look forward to the District completing their investigation. We also look forward to sharing additional information regarding certain public comments made, when appropriate.”

The president of the Lexington-Fayette branch of the NAACP in a recent statement said the group is concerned about potential “mishandling” of the suspension. In the statement, President Whit Whitaker said “there appears to be procedural mishandling, action, and treatment of the (Paul Laurence Dunbar High School) principal who was recently placed on administrative leave.”

Golden on Thursday told the Herald-Leader that he looked forward to the investigation coming to a conclusion as soon as possible.