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Fells avoids termination but won’t return to school

Victory for Ken Fells and his supporters is bittersweet.

Victory for Ken Fells and his supporters is bittersweet.

The former principal is not fired, but he will not be returning to work at Graham Creighton Junior High School in Cherry Brook.

The Halifax Regional School Board released the decision at 2 a.m. on Thursday after many hours of hearing evidence.

While the school board is mum on the incident that led to this possible termination, Brad Barton with the Black Educators Association of Nova Scotia said they have received accounts of what happened by students who were there.

Back in March, teachers stepped in when they noticed a male student was taking inappropriate photos of a female student.

Fells was called in when the student wouldn’t hand over the phone with the photos on it.

“From all accounts we’ve heard, a student pushed the arm of the principal and he had his arm against the wall,” said Barton.

“There were accounts there was an assault on the principal and he had to restrain (the student).”

More than 400 people attended a meeting held by the Black Educators Association on Monday to express their support for Fells, who is involved in a number of community activities with young people.

About 100 of those supporters kept vigil outside the school board office in Dartmouth on Wednesday night.

About 20 of them stuck it out in the rain until a decision was made on Thursday.

Barton said he thinks the public outcry influenced the board’s decision.

“I think everybody thinks it’s a victory because very few times the board rejects a recommendation from the senior staff,” he said.

“Unfortunately, they didn’t follow through with the next step that he be reinstated as principal of Graham Creighton Junior High.”

Board member Steve Brine said the decision was based on all the evidence they heard. He added Fells’s new assignment is “yet to be determined.”