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Ex-Gainesville school official fired from Glynn County

Superintendent Michael Bull allegedly sent ‘raunchy’ e-mails via county Blackberry

POSTED: February 21, 2009 12:29 a.m.

Glynn County School Superintendent Michael Bull was fired Friday after the board of education voted unanimously to terminate his contract for sending what its chairman described as “raunchy” e-mails to unidentified adults.

Bull, an educator for nearly 40 years, previously served as assistant superintendent of instruction for two years for Gainesville City Schools before taking the Glynn County position in 2005.

Bull’s home phone had been disconnected Friday and he had surrendered his school system cell phone, so he could not be reached for comment.

Board Chairman Millard Allen said Bull told the board he had too much to drink and “did a very foolish thing,” according to Associated Press reports.

Assistant Superintendent Howard Mann will take over as acting superintendent, the board announced.

The board, calling an emergency meeting and discussing the e-mails in an executive session, cited Bull for exchanging sexually explicit e-mails on his system-issued Blackberry phone while on an overnight trip in Savannah, Allen said. Bull was in Savannah on school business Wednesday night when the e-mails were sent.

“The Blackberry was used as an access tool and to my knowledge it was all text,” Allen said. “It was just pretty raunchy, bad stuff that was sent in text.

“All I can say it was beyond inappropriate.”

The board voted 5-0 to fire Bull for “improper use of school property.” Two of the seven board members were not present.

Allen said there were multiple e-mail addresses involved, which appeared to be all to adults. No criminal charges will be filed, Allen said.

Bull, who was hired as superintendent in July 2005, will not receive any sort of severance package or buyout of his contract.

It was just two months ago that the school board was praising Bull for a job well done for the progress he had made in the school system. The board voted to extend his contract through 2011 and raise his annual salary to $167,648.

“He (Bull) said he made a grievous mistake,” Allen said of his conversations with Bull leading up to the decision to dismiss him. “As to why he did it, Bull said he doesn’t usually partake in alcohol, but he had a few drinks and that led to his poor judgment.”

Allen said the e-mail was flagged by the school system’s Information Technology Department during a regular scan Thursday morning and brought to the attention of Mann, who was the assistant superintendent in charge while Bull was in Savannah.

The inappropriate usage of school e-mail is a violation that falls under several guidelines, including those listed in the system’s Internet access policy, employee handbook, and Bull’s contract.

The Information Technology Department will continue to scan Bull’s system-issued electronic equipment for officials to review the contents, a process that could take several days, school officials said.

Board member Mike Hulsey made the motion to terminate Bull’s contract in the three-hour executive session. Hulsey, a supporter of Bull when he was hired in 2005, said the board had no choice but to fire the superintendent.

“At the end of the day, credibility was going to be lost and that’s something we would have never gotten back,” Hulsey said. “That type of activity was inappropriate for anyone in that position.”

He said it particularly troubles him because Bull and his policies have helped to improve the school system.

“I’m mad, upset and disappointed, all rolled into one, because we were heading in the right direction,” Hulsey said.

Story is courtesy of The Brunswick News.



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