School attorney: Drugs, weapons found in principal's office

Long Beach High School Principal Peter Dabbs has been suspended with pay since July. A termination hearing began last week to determine if Dabbs will be allowed to return as principal or be fired. (Photo source: WLOX)
Long Beach High School Principal Peter Dabbs has been suspended with pay since July. A termination hearing began last week to determine if Dabbs will be allowed to return as principal or be fired. (Photo source: WLOX)

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Long Beach High School Principal Peter Dabbs is accused of having inappropriate relationships with teachers, but Long Beach School District Attorney Jim Simpson said what school officials found in Dabbs' office after he was suspended is even more alarming.

"A small amount of drugs, and some weapons, and some records were recovered that, turns out, they were altered," Simpson said. "This evidence was found prior to the hearing.

Dabbs has been suspended with pay since July. A termination hearing began last week to determine if Dabbs will be allowed to return as principal or be fired.

Since testimony about the evidence found in Dabbs' office was discussed while the termination hearing was in executive session, Simpson is limited on what he can say.

"It's a very small amount in terms of dosage," Simpson said, "but prescription drugs, that should not be there."

Dabbs' attorney Wayne Woodall said those things did not belong to his client.

"It is our understanding that anything that was found came from a prior administration for which students were appropriately sanctioned," Woodall said, "and there is no evidence that my client had anything to do with any of it."

Woodall also maintains Dabbs never had anything but professional relationships with teachers since becoming principal in 2011.

"The dispute as to whether he sent one particular teacher more or less texts than others, they claim he told administration one thing and he actually told them quite the opposite," Woodall said. "The teacher was more involved than most with extracurricular activities, but still no inappropriate relations with any teacher."

The school superintendent testified during the termination hearing about several incidents beginning in 2012 where she said she had to confront Dabbs about rumors of relations with at least two different teachers.

"It's living hell for Mr. Dabbs," Woodall said. "He's having to defend a Harper Valley PTA type rumor mill."

Also being questioned during the termination hearing is Dabbs' calendar in his office.

"The calendar was removed from Mr. Dabbs office for a period of three weeks, and when we got it back, it had been significantly altered, and that's an issue we are trying to investigate," Simpson said.

Head Football Coach Forrest Williams testified he took the calendar but he never opened it. Williams also said Dabbs asked if he could have the calendar, but Williams told him, 'No.'

"One particular individual got the calendar without my client's knowledge," Woodall said, "took it off campus without my client's knowledge, returned it with administration two weeks or so later, and indicated the entire time he had it, Mr. Dabbs never saw it."

Woodall said since Dabbs has been principal the school's performance grade has gone up and so has the graduation rate.

"I think they acted very hastily and exercised rapid judgement without looking to the benefits he's brought to the school and did so complaining about things that they themselves may be guilty of," Woodall said.

"We just want to make sure that things get back to normal as quickly as possible," Simpson said. "It's important that the school and the students be put first in the matter and that's what we are trying to do."

The termination hearing is expected to resume again October 17th and October 31st.

After the hearing is over the testimony and evidence will be handed over to the school board to make the ultimate decision.

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