Hazel Green principal plans to rescind resignation, attorney says

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HAZEL GREEN, Ala. -- Former Hazel Green High School Principal Darrell Long is taking back his resignation.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Madison County Schools Board of Education members, Long's attorney, Eric Artrip, contends Long was forced to resign after Superintendent Matt Massey threatened him with termination and criminal prosecution for something he didn't do.

At issue are student absentee records which were purged from the school's records. When asked, Long approved the removal of the absence notations for students who had left school and would not be back, his attorney said -- a process that they claim is done at every Alabama high school.

Massey conducted an investigation and did not disclose what he found. He then told Long there would be repercussions if he didn't quit, according to Artrip. His attorney claimed Long's resignation was involuntary because he was misled into thinking he could face criminal charges if he didn't resign.

Long had been principal at Hazel Green High since 2009. He resigned Aug. 8, a week after students returned to classes from summer break. At the time, school board member Nathan Curry said Long stepped down for "family and personal reasons."

Long was an exemplary administrator until sometime in spring 2017 when Massey learned he had goals of becoming a district superintendent, Artrip claims. Massey encouraged Long to pursue a superintendent job with Decatur City Schools, but Long didn't.

Earlier this year Long claims he told Massey he planned to enroll in the Alabama Superintendents Academy in Tuscaloosa.

"This proved to be his undoing," Artrip said in the letter. In May, Long gave the okay to purge the absentee records of school dropouts, Massey conducted his investigation and then pressured Long into quitting, Artrip said.

Long has asked district officials to reinstate his employment agreement, pay his contract out or set a termination hearing.

The school board is scheduled to meet at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

Artrip asked the board to table any plans to replace Long as principal.

WHNT News 19 has reached out to Superintendent Massey regarding Long's claims. We have not yet heard back.

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