CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha County high school principal who is no stranger to controversy has been suspended for failing to obey a directive from the central school board office.
Clinton Giles, longtime principal of Capital High School, was put on suspension Thursday. He declined comment on the situation when reached by telephone Thursday afternoon.
Citing personnel rules, school board officials also were tightlipped on the matter when asked to comment.
However, one school official who asked not to be identified said the suspension was the result of a conflict over a student's admission into Capital's National Honor Society. Giles made unauthorized changes to the criteria for admission into the club, the source said.
The decision was made by administrators and has not come before the Board of Education. School board members didn't expect to take up the matter in a regular meeting planned for Thursday evening.
Giles has found himself at odds with the central office in the recent past.
Last May, Giles tried to stop about 20 Capital seniors from participating in graduation because they wore a shirt on their last day of school he didn't approve of.
His decision was overruled and the seniors were allowed to walk in the ceremony. Several community leaders balked at the decision, saying that county school officials had given in to pressure from wealthy and influential parents and, in doing so, had undermined Giles' authority.
In December, Giles came under fire for a policy that required students to stand for the playing of the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. On Fridays mornings, he also had the song "Lift Every Voice and Sing" played over loudspeakers. Students were expected to remain standing for the song.
A parent complained that the song was the "African American National Anthem" and that it was disrespectful to make students stand for it. Giles, who is black, said he didn't consider the song to be about African Americans. He said it simply sent the message that "everybody is somebody at Capital High."
After a conversation with Superintendent Ron Duerring, Giles changed the school's policy to say that students may sit for the anthem, pledge and song.