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Capital High Principal Clinton Giles suspended

By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Capital High School's principal has been suspended, a Kanawha County Schools official said Thursday.

Superintendent Ron Duerring suspended Clinton Giles on Wednesday, the school official said. The school official, who asked not to be named because the suspension is a personnel decision, said Giles was suspended because he ignored a directive from Duerring.

"There was something on [Capital's] website and [Duerring] asked him to take it off because parents got upset about it and [Giles] told him he wasn't going to," the official said. "It's probably off of there now."

School board President Pete Thaw said it wasn't a decision made by the Board of Education. Thaw didn't know how long the suspension would last or if the suspension was with or without pay.

Giles, who has been principal at the school for nine years, would not comment when contacted by a Gazette reporter on Thursday afternoon. Duerring did not return a phone call.

Giles has had several public arguments with Duerring, the school board and students at Capital.

In December, Giles said Duerring contacted him and told him two students had complained they were being forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1943 students couldn't be forced to say the pledge or salute the American flag in school.

In turn, Giles canceled the pledge for a day. In 2010, Giles decided, whether they said the pledge or not, students would stand up during it and not distract those participating.

Last May, Duerring reversed a decision Giles made not to let 21 graduating students walk during commencement.

Giles had banned the Capital students from the ceremony for what he called open insubordination after the students refused to take off the student-designed senior shirts. Giles objected to the shirts, which students say were meant to encourage school spirit, because they shortened the name of Capital High School to "Cap" and displayed a paw print rather than the school's cougar mascot logo.

In 2006, Giles booted between 50 and 70 students from Capital's prom because he said they broke the school's dance code. The following year, he had students sign a contract that forbade "dirty dancing" before they attended the prom.

 But during the 2007 prom, students said Giles eased up, and relaxed the dancing policy in a surprising, late-evening announcement.

In 2011, Giles joined with parents and teachers in voicing strong opposition to making East Academy, an alternative night school housed at Capital High School, a day program.

Duerring said at the time that making East Academy a day program, where students in the alternative school would attend classes at the same time as Capital students, was only in the planning stages.

Kanawha school officials eventually housed the alternative program at the old Chandler Elementary School.


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