LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - A termination hearing is underway to determine if Long Beach High School Principal Peter Dabbs will be fired or be allowed to return to school.
Dabbs was placed on administrative leave, with pay, on July 22, according to his attorney, Wayne Woodall.
Long Beach School Board Attorney Jim Simpson said Dabbs has violated the Mississippi Code of Ethics for Educators for several years now. Woodall, however, maintains his client had only professional relations with his staff.
Simpson began the hearing Thursday morning calling Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Forrest Williams to the stand. Williams testified he took a calendar off Dabbs' desk after Dabbs was suspended.
Williams said Dabbs asked him if he could have the calendar, but Williams told him he was not getting into the middle of it and would not give him the calendar. Williams said he was asked and returned the calendar without ever opening it.
The next witness called to the stand was Long Beach School District Superintendent Carrolyn Hamilton. Hamilton testified about several occasions, beginning in 2012, when she had to confront Dabbs about rumors of inappropriate relations with at least two different teachers.
One of the times Hamilton said she received an anonymous letter from concerned parents about Dabbs and a teacher.
Hamilton said each time she confronted Dabbs about rumors he seemed visibly annoyed and upset that she would believe the rumors. She said she told Dabbs that school principals are held to a higher standard, and while they have a right to a private life, it must stay private.
Hamilton said on several occasions she told Dabbs that perceptions can damage his credibility.
During testimony about a Facebook post on a teacher's account, the hearing officer in charge asked everyone to leave the room because the testimony would jeopardize someone's character.
For the rest of Thursday's hearing, no one besides those involved in the hearing and those called to testify were allowed in the room.
At least 20 people have been subpoenaed to testify in the hearing. The hearing is expected to resume on Friday morning.
After the hearing is complete, the school board will be able to review all the evidence and make a final decision on whether or not Dabbs can return to Long Beach High School as Principal.