ATHENS, Ga. — The principal of Cedar Shoals High School is on administrative leave after an alleged rape that took place on school grounds, according to officials.
The Clarke County School Board says it is making plans to install an interim principal in place of Tony Price. Dr. Monica Grant will serve as the lead administrator of the school until the interim principal is announced.
11Alive obtained a copy of a statement by Superintendent Philip Lanoue Sunday which outlined the future leadership plans for the school. It reads:
First and foremost, thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through a deliberate and sensitive internal investigation of recent events at Cedar Shoals High School.
At this time, in the best interest of the Cedar Shoals community, it is my decision to place an interim principal at the school. Prior to that taking place, Dr. Monica Gant (Executive Director of Secondary Education) will serve as the lead administrator of Cedar Shoals. As soon as I have determined the individual to serve as interim principal, I will immediately inform the school community.
Your involvement and shared concerns have been appreciated. Thank you for your dedication to our school district and community.
The news comes after a 15-year-old girl reported she was raped by fellow students in a school stairwell in January. The girl, who authorities are not naming at this time, told investigators she immediately reported the alleged incident to officials.
"She made it known that she did not want the sexual assault to occur," Athens-Clark County Lt. Jeff Clark said. "She did alert them that she didn't want this to be happening."
After an initial investigation, police were able to obtain warrants for Jaivous Malik Collins, 17, Markel Dereek Brannon, 18, and Xavier Marquise Clarke, 18. All were arrested for rape-related charges, among others. According to police, there is a surveillance video camera in the stairwell. Charges were filed based on what that video showed.
The incident became a heated topic among those in the school community after some parents and staffers said they only learned of the alleged attack from the media, not school leaders.
While a school district spokesperson says in an 11Alive News interview that mistakes were made, some parents say that is not good enough. Other parents said they wonder if the suspects were allowed to attend school after the attack, potentially placing other students in harm's way. Parents brought up these and other concerns at a school board meeting Feb. 11, that 11Alive's Jeremy Campbell attended.
He asked Associate Superintendent Ted Gilbert why three weeks went by before parents were notified.
"That's a matter right now for our internal investigation," Gilbert said at the time. "I wish I could provide more information but that's all we can at this point."
When asked if someone made a mistake, Gilbert said he suspects a communication issue to be part of the problem.
"I think there were mistakes in communication along the way and in some of our protocol," he said.
Gilbert said there is no sign of a cover up and there is a plan to make the school safer. In addition to the change in leadership, Gilbert says they will add additional security guards campus wide. He says they also added cameras and lighting to school grounds.