A federal lawsuit has been filed by Dr. Douglas Bailer against the Jackson County Board of Education, previous appointed Superintendent Bart Reeves individually, and Tina Hancock who previously worked as the Chief School Financial Officer for Jackson County.

Bailer, who was employed until December 9, 2015 as a District Supervisor claims in the complaint that he was an open supporter of former superintendent, Ken Harding. Harding retired on July 1, 2015. Reeves was appointed to replace Harding on September 21, 2015. “During Reeves’ first meeting with the principals of the Jackson County Schools, he noted that there were “Harding people and others” in the room.” “Upon information and belief, Reeves identified a number of “Harding people” that he wished to terminate. Almost immediately after the Board appointed Reeves the 2016 race for Superintendent began. In October 2015, Reeves announced he was running for the position. The race was contested. Reeve’s opponent in the Republican primary was Kevin Dukes, who had been a supporter of Superintendent Harding. In early December 2015 and during the primary election, Bailer had a yard sign placed in his yard indicating his support of Reeves’ opponent.”
The Complaint goes on to state, “On December 9, 2015, Reeves summoned Dr. Bailer to his office, where the Board’s attorney was also present. During that meeting, Reeves stated that he had received compelling evidence from an unnamed co-employee that Dr. Bailer had sexually harassed the co-employee. Reeves immediately placed Dr. Bailer on administrative leave. Neither Reeves, nor the Board’s attorney would provide the identity of the co-employee or any details concerning the allegations of the co-employee. Reeves stated that Dr. Bailer could avoid criminal charges and investigation by providing his resignation, effective at the end of the school year. Reeves required that the resignation be given that day to avoid further action. Despite Dr. Bailer’s planned out-of-state trip the next day (of which Reeves was aware), he would not give Dr. Bailer any additional time to resign.”     Bailer further asserts that Reeves intended to recommend his termination regardless of the results of any Board investigation and that his resignation was coerced through threats of criminal charges. Bailer states that Hancock and the wife of Reeves are close friends, leading to Reeves and Hancock conspiring to deprive Bailer of his constitutional rights.
Hancock filed a lawsuit against Bailer on January 7, 2016 making claims on purported sexual harassment, which are denied by Bailer. The lawsuit filed by Hancock alleges inappropriate contact on October 15, 2013, January 7, 2014, January 24, 2014 and February 4, 2014.
Bailer’s  complaint concludes by requesting an Order directing Bailer to be placed back in the position of District Supervisor, back pay, front pay, interest, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. As of press time, no answer had been filed by Hancock, Reeves or the Jackson County Board of Education.

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