Principal Hartley Gibbons announces retirement after being put o - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Principal Hartley Gibbons announces retirement after being put on leave

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Source: Rachel Moore/WFXG Source: Rachel Moore/WFXG
AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

"I retired this morning. I am not an employee, but I am still on administrative leave until the end of the month. Come December I will be officially retired."

This was the shocking announcement to Terrace Manor Elementary employees; Principal Hartley Gibbons said he's retiring. 

"There is a new system in place in Georgia for retirement," Gibbons said. "If I did not retire this month here, I would lose money. And it's not about the money, but it's still about making sure I provide for my family, and my health."

Earlier this week, Gibbons was kicked out of a school board meeting; his outburst criticized the Richmond County Board of Education for ignoring unsafe environmental issues in his school building. The next day he was put on administrative leave and escorted off the school's premises. Minutes later two teachers were rolled out on medical stretchers. They say black mold throughout some classrooms made it hard for them to breathe.

Superintendent Frank Roberson says the school board just received the preliminary results of an assessment of the more than 30-year-old building.

"There are no threats to the environment," Dr. Roberson said. "Nothing in the environment that should create any health concerns for students or staff."

Interim principal Hal Thomason will now lead the school.

"I'm going to make an informed decision about what I feel about the building," Thomason said. "I'm in here myself, so my health too could also be a concern, and I feel perfectly at ease here."

Thomason says he welcomes all parents to share their concerns, much like they did with Gibbons, who says he will remain an active member in the community.

"I will continue to follow Terrace Manor," Gibbons said. "I will continue to support the parents of these kids, because they're our legacy and they're our future, but it's time for me to leave."

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