Pinecrest students are planning a Tuesday morning rally in the defense of a popular assistant principal.
On Friday, rumors began circulating on social media that Herb Hanson has been asked by school administrators to resign from that position this week.
An online petition at change.org has amassed more than 3,200 signatures since it was started on Saturday by a user claiming to represent “the students at Pinecrest High School.”
State personnel law prohibits school board members and staff from commenting on whether or not Hanson is in danger of losing his job at Pinecrest or with the school district, but Superintendent Bob Grimesey told The Pilot on Monday that Hanson is still employed at Pinecrest.
It’s unclear how many of the petition’s signatories are in fact affiliated with Pinecrest, but their tone — along with many social media posts and comment threads consumed by parents’ dialogue about the issue — is universally supportive of Hanson.
“He is one of the only staff members I and many other kids feel safe talking to and that no matter what put us first,” the petition reads.
“He has ONLY been caring and supportive to the kids, the ones that need him on campus and in our community. This is not fair to happen to him! No matter what, he has been there for so many of us and it’s time for us to give the support back.”
Hanson, a 34-year Air Force veteran, has been at Pinecrest since 2007 and became an assistant principal there the following year. With the exception of a semester at North Moore High and a year as principal of Southern Middle School, he’s held the position ever since.
He is one of five assistant principals at Pinecrest.
Much of the online commentary has suggested that Hanson’s possible dismissal is related to the loss of 440 Pinecrest students’ ACT test materials after two separate test administrations in February and March. It wasn’t until June rolled around — and students had yet to receive scores — that the school discovered that their answer sheets had never been handed over to FedEx to be shipped to ACT for grading.
Many parents remain dissatisfied with the schools' explanation that a Pinecrest staff member misplaced and discarded the tests. Pinecrest’s test coordinator was dismissed from her position shortly after the loss was discovered.
Though he declined to comment on that theory, Grimesey confirmed that Hanson at the time played a supervisory role in the test administration process at Pinecrest.
Students plan to rally for Hanson remaining at Pinecrest on Tuesday at 7:45 a.m. in the school courtyard.
The Moore County Board of Education will meet on Tuesday at 2 p.m. to discuss school construction and plans for districtwide realignment of school attendance lines. No public comment period or personnel action is scheduled until the board’s Sept. 9 regular meeting.