According to Bob Moore at the Tribune, a Hancock County grand jury has declined to indict Hancock County High School and Middle School principal Thomas Zachary.
Zachary faced charges arising from an incident last November.
The principal was accused of paddling a 13-year-old boy twice on the same day. Family members of the boy say Zachary paddled the child so hard it left bruises and required a trip to the emergency room.
District Attorney General Berkeley Bell Jr. gave the grand jury the option of indicting Zachary for aggravated assault, simple assault and child abuse.
“A grand jury consists of 12 members and a foreman, who can vote. In order to obtain an indictment, 12 of the 13 grand jurors must vote to send the case to criminal court. In other words, at least two grand jurors believed that Zachary should not be indicted.”
Zachary has been on administrative leave since Feb. 8. Whether or not Zachary will return as principal remains unclear, as the Tribune was not able to reach Director of Schools Mike Antrican for comment.
However, the Hancock County Board of Education’s decision to place Mr. Zachary on Administrative leave was not solely related to the incident. The board made the decision after several parents appeared at the February meeting to lodge complains regarding a general lack of discipline, bullying, and presence of tobacco and illegal drugs in the school system.
According to the Sneedville Web reports, Director of Schools, Mike Antrican had told the BOE at that time:
“Something has to be done, and it has to be done now. There has got to be administrative rearrangement for anything to be solved. I don’t think Mr. Zachary wants to do anything. He wants this problem to just go away, and that is not going to happen. There has been a fight every single day this year, sometimes more. This is going to get worse before it gets better. We can’t just sit here and do nothing. We need a change.”
The School Board voted to support Mike Antrican in any changes he would make to the administrative department of the High/Middle School.
Consequently, I do not expect Zachary to return.