Former Union Day School principal speaks out

Former Union Day School principal speaks out


WEDDINGTON, N.C. — After a week of protests by parents at Union Day School over the firing of the principal, that head of school is finally discussing what happened.

 

What You Need To Know

Matthew Hamilton filed a lawsuit against Union Day School

He claims he was fired illegally, and that the board lied publicly about why

He hopes to get his job back

 

The Board of Directors fired Matthew Hamilton in October, and Wednesday he filed a lawsuit against both the school and the board in Union County Superior Court.

In the lawsuit, it states the board provided four different reasons for his termination, including “discriminatory actions toward school staff,” “for cause,” a “business decision” and that he no longer “had the Board’s trust and confidence.”

This is the first time Hamilton has spoken in person, and he told Spectrum News 1 he’s taking action now because he believes he was fired illegally.

Hamilton led Union Day School for 16 months. Prior to that, he worked in education for 16 years in North Carolina.

He said he’s passionate about what he does, and he hopes to get his job back.

“I would love to have the school back the way it was, because of the illegal process that was done,” Hamilton said. “I would love for me to go back and pick up and rebuild what we had. We were thriving. The school was growing.”

Hamilton claims he was fired illegally and that the board publicly lied about why.

He alleges the board broke the North Carolina Open Meetings Law, which requires charter schools, like other public schools, to follow a formal, open process when making decisions.

Charter schools are public schools of choice, funded by local and state tax dollars.

Hamilton’s lawsuit states no public meeting happened before the board terminated him. He also says he was given a written reprimand by the board, stating he fostered a hostile work environment, but never saw the grievance in question.

“I continued to do my job, and at that time I felt I had to defend myself, and I wasn’t given an opportunity to defend myself,” Hamilton said. “And I had to present facts and evidence that were true, and it showed that what was being alleged is not what is there, so I sent the board a rebuttal, and four days later I was fired.”

We reached out to the school for a response.

“We have reviewed the lawsuit filed by the former head of school and are confident it is without merit,” said Matthew Tilley, Union Day School Board of Directors legal counsel. “The UDS Board has always conducted its business in an open and transparent manner, in compliance with open meetings laws as well as the school’s charter and bylaws, which are regulated by the state. We will defend the lawsuit as we would any other frivolous claim. In the meantime, the board, administration and teachers remain focused on our shared mission to provide the high-quality education our students deserve.”

The lawsuit includes statements from 20 teachers and staff who say if the school had held an open meeting, they would have showed up to defend Hamilton.

 

 



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