Residents demand answers from Hancock County School Board over superintendent’s firing

After 30 minutes, the school board adjourned without addressing the superintendent’s firing, causing residents to leave more frustrated than when they entered.
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 9:56 PM CDT
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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Ten days after the Hancock County School Board unanimously voted to fire the superintendent, parents and residents were hoping to get some answers during the first school board meeting since Teresa Merwin was let go.

Residents filled all the seats of the Hancock County School District’s Board room on Monday. Darnell Cuevas was in the crowd, and she would like to learn more about the circumstances leading up to her friend Teresa Merwin losing her job.

“I just want to have a good understanding of why the situation warranted an immediate termination, because I just don’t understand that,” Cuevas said.

After 30 minutes, the school board adjourned without addressing the superintendent’s firing, causing the residents to leave more frustrated than when they entered.

“For them to just fire Miss Merwin and not give an example of why, why haven’t we gotten answers?” asked Luke Bates, father of two students in Hancock Schools.

Karen Necaise was the only citizen to speak during public comments. Despite using her time to question redistricting practices of the school district and not bringing up Merwin’s termination, she said more questions need to be answered.

“It’s what you say, and if you don’t have anything to hide, why wouldn’t you speak,” Necaise said.

Legally, the school board isn’t required to give the specific reason for firing the superintendent since it is a personnel matter, but residents like Cuevas believe it would be in the public’s best interest to know more.

“Those that are concerned because they feel like they don’t know the answers would maybe have some closure. Maybe there would be something that would help us understand why the board did what they did. But at this time, I just think a lot of people don’t,” Cuevas said.

After the meeting, WLOX asked each school board member for comment on the residents’ concerns. The board members all declined to comment.

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