Battery investigation follows Whittell dean from Georgia
Whittell High School’s new dean of students and athletic director is facing criminal charges from his previous job in Georgia where he was headmaster of private school for troubled teens.
Richard Darrington, 37, was hired this summer to replace Whittell administrator Dan Wold, who transferred to Carson Valley Middle School for the fall.
On Friday, Darrington said the school district was aware of two battery charges, one a felony and one a misdemeanor, leveled against him in Blue Ridge, Ga., where he operated Darrington Academy for five years.
According to the Blue Ridge News Observer, Darrington was arrested in May by Fannin County sheriff’s investigators for allegedly slamming a 17-year-old student on the floor, causing a tooth to fall out, and pushing a 16-year-old juvenile into a wall. Darrington paid $6,000 bail and was released from jail.
He moved to Nevada, though the charges are still on the table.
“The community has no need to be concerned about this,” Darrington said. “They can trust the district and the people who interviewed me. They were aware of the situation and have done the due diligence. They were able to see this as not something that precluded me from a new job as an administrator at Whittell.”
Darrington said he was not at liberty to discuss the case.
“I’m sure once it gets into a courtroom, if it ever goes to court, it will play out and be handled well,” he said. “I hope I am judged innocent until proven otherwise.”
Darrington said he has not been indicted, nor has a hearing been scheduled.
“I’m just waiting, trying to provide for my family and move on,” he said. “I have done everything legally and lawfully and have made no attempt to hide anything.”
Darrington, who has a master’s degree in education administration, grew up in Southern Utah and taught in Las Vegas and Southern California before operating the school in Georgia, which closed in February after police opened an investigation.
Darrington said his legal situation can happen to anyone.
“It’s unfortunate it hasn’t been resolved yet,” he said. “I’m not trying to cause problems, but I feel like I do a good job.”
He said he’s enjoying his new position at Whittell.
“The kids are great and I love the school; I couldn’t ask for a better place to work,” he said. “This is a great district, and the people here have done their jobs and have not been flippant or irresponsible in any way. There was something that made them feel like I was the right person for the job.”
On Friday, Human Resources Director Alexander said he couldn’t comment on the allegations against Darrington, but explained the hiring process.
He said secondary administrators are first interviewed by principals at the school, in this case Whittell Principal Sue Shannon.
“Principals interview and do the reference checks, then it comes to me for a finalist interview,” Alexander said. “We start the process of a salary schedule and submit fingerprints to the state.”
Alexander said fingerprint results take a while to return to the district.
He said applicants are asked to disclose any criminal convictions on their applications, but not necessarily criminal charges.
“Fingerprints will come back showing any charges pending,” Alexander said.
He said applicants are innocent until proven guilty, but are usually asked to explain any charges.
“We’d have to look at the severity of the issues,” he said, “if there is any danger to children or issues with children.”
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