Garretson principal, football coach Chris Long fired after 5 hours of closed_freckle removal birmingham

Morgan Matzen, Sioux Falls Argus Leader·7 min read
Dozens of Garretson residents sit at a school board meeting in support of Chris Long on Feb. 24, 2022 in the Garretson school library.
Dozens of Garretson residents sit at a school board meeting in support of Chris Long on Feb. 24, 2022 in the Garretson school library.

After five hours and 13 minutes in executive session, the Garretson School Board voted to terminate the contract of Chris Long, the middle school and high school principal and football coach.

Long’s contract was terminated, effective immediately, on a motion made minutes after the board ended its executive session at 11:19 p.m. He was terminated “based upon a clear failure to follow, and violation of, the district’s policies and procedures,” according to the motion.

A hearing officer will prepare findings of facts and conclusions of law on Long’s case, and any further decisions will be approved and adopted by the board of education, board president Shannon Nordstrom explained with the motion.

More: Garretson residents pressure district to keep principal and head coach Chris Long on staff

Long’s teaching certificate may be in jeopardy with the decision, though it’s unclear what his offense was to cause his termination.

Rumors are swirling in the small town of Garretson, but Nordstrom would not comment or explain Long’s offense to the Argus Leader, the Garretson Gazette or South Dakota News Watch on Wednesday night after the hearing.

The decision came after hours of closed meetings in the Garretson school library, where the public couldn’t see the proceedings through glazed glass panes, and where double-glass doors leading into the library were covered with sheets of black construction paper.

For hours on Wednesday night, Feb. 24, 2022, this was the public's view of the closed portion of the school board meeting as they deliberated in executive session. Black construction paper blocked out the view into the school library where the meeting was held.
For hours on Wednesday night, Feb. 24, 2022, this was the public's view of the closed portion of the school board meeting as they deliberated in executive session. Black construction paper blocked out the view into the school library where the meeting was held.

Little indications came as to what was happening in the proceedings, other than Long and his attorney, David Kroon, and Superintendent Guy Johnson and the district’s attorney, Sam Kerr, stepping out into the administrative office for breaks and to let the board deliberate.

Nordstrom also explained at the start of the hearing, in a few minutes of public session, that hearing officer Rodney Freeman would act as legal counsel to the board for the purposes of this employee hearing.

“Speaking for myself, and I’m sure the rest of the board can nod along, but I know there’s a lot of concern about this issue. I can see it,” Nordstrom said at the start of the meeting. “It weighs heavy on us, too. We have to work through this and see where things end up. At this point, I think there’s a lot of different ideas and thoughts that everybody has. What we’re going to do tonight is going to be based on the evidence presented to us.”

(editor:)

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