Parents express concern about new administrator at Marion County school

By Alex Wiederspiel

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A number of Marion County parents expressed concerns to the local Board of Education during a Monday night meeting over the transfer of the embattled former Fairmont Senior High School Principal to a new position.

Nick Bryan, a parent who’s children attend Rivesville Elementary and Middle School, said the board’s decision to transfer former FSHS Principal Richard T. Furgason to an administrative role at the Rivesville school was a mistake.

“I just find it hard to believe that the 14 other people that were interviewed couldn’t be more qualified in the regard of being without a tarnished reputation,” he said on Tuesday morning’s edition of WAJR’s Morgantown AM.

The Board of Education approved a four-day suspension for Furgason nearly one year ago, eventually following that suspension with an unpaid medical leave.

According to Bryan, the widespread rumors surrounding Furgason’s suspension and subsequent unpaid leave were drug related.

The reasons for those decisions have never been expressly stated, but Bryan said it’s a concern for him and a number of parents who spoke to the Board of Education during executive session Monday night.

“There are certain times in life where certain things have been done, and you can’t take them back,” Bryan said.

Bryan said he supports anyone having a second chance, but that putting Furgason in charge of the safety of children might not be appropriate.

“I feel if the Board does feel like they want to give him some more opportunities and stuff, put him in at the Board Office,” he said. “Have him do some work there. I just personally don’t feel that around children is the best option right now.”

The decision to approve the transfer of Furgason to Rivesville Elementary and Middle School came by the narrowest of margins–a 3-2 decision.

“That’s why we put elected officials in office,” Bryan said. “It’s to listen to their constituents and to hopefully do what their constituents are asking them to do. At least two of the Board members last night–and I thank them for their being able to stand up to listen and being able to take our concerns to heart.”

Bryan said he has great faith in the teachers at Rivesville, but said the risk being taken by the three Board of Education members is an unnecessary one.

“What does scare me is, if God forbid something ever were to happen, there are some board members that I personally would hold responsible for it,” Bryan said.

Furgason starts his new role as Assistant Principal at Rivesville Elementary and Middle School on Wednesday.

The Marion County Board of Education did not immediately return an e-mail request for comment.