by Billy Ball
The Hillsborough middle school principal accused of hindering the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance for more than two years is stepping down.
Jones did not return Indy messages, so it’s unclear why the principal is stepping down. But she has been criticized by leadership on the system’s Board of Education for her handling of the GSA issue.
Students and staff at the school said she blocked creation of the GSA, which offers support and counseling for LGBT students, before finally allowing students to meet weeks before the end of the 2013-2014 school year.
In September, the Indy reported that Jones all but squashed the group by ordering a new policy barring non-academic clubs such as the GSA from meeting during school hours. Jones said the GSA can meet outside of school hours, but student and staff supporters said the move would make it more difficult to attend.
Multiple members of the school’s staff said Jones told them the policy change came from Orange County Schools’ central office. But the system’s Interim Superintendent Del Burns said that was untrue, prompting criticism for the school principal.
"As a principal at the school, you have to be respectful of the needs of all your kids, not just the 98 percent majority," said Orange County Schools Board of Education Chairman Stephen Halkiotis in June. "You're responsible for the 2 percent too."
Full coverage of this in Wednesday's Indy.