WEST COLUMBIA — West Brazos Junior High’s principal was placed on administrative leave and agreed to resign following complaints by multiple employees that he had made unprofessional comments toward them, according to documents provided by Columbia-Brazoria ISD.
Alfred Black is on paid administrative leave until March 14, according to his resignation letter, but has not been on campus as principal since Nov. 4, the same day employees’ complaints were brought to administration, Superintendent Steven Galloway said.
The employees, all women, complained of “inappropriate communication from a supervisor to employee” on the morning of Nov. 4, Galloway said. The district immediately launched an informal investigation, he said, and placed Black on administrative leave by the end of the day.
The investigation ended Nov. 12 when Galloway and other administrators met with Black and informed him of the specifics of the complaints, the superintendent said. The investigation confirmed multiple incidents similar in nature that violated the district’s sexual harassment policy, Galloway said.
“We basically told him that he would not be the principal of West Brazos Junior High … nor an employee of C-BISD,” Galloway said.
In a resignation letter dated Nov. 13, Black stated his resignation would be effective March 14. He was in his second year as principal of the junior high and had been an assistant principal and coach before.
“I am forever grateful to Mr. Galloway and CBISD for the past 7 years,” the letter states. “Thank you for the opportunity and I wish Columbia Brazoria the best.”
Attempts to contact Black through social media were unsuccessful.
Placing Black on administrative leave until an agreed-upon resignation date is for several reasons, including avoiding a potentially lengthy appellate process, Galloway said. If the district were to fire Black, it could be problematic because it did not appear Black broke any laws, Galloway said.
This agreement pays Black his regular salary that equals about $81,000 annually until March 14, he said. The school board feels saving money in this situation was less a priority than doing the right thing and ensuring employees felt safe, Galloway said.
“The right decision is that he’d not be the principal and he’d not be in an administrative role,” he said.
The administrative leave also allows the district to continue its investigation with Black as an employee, Galloway said.
Jeff Kinney, who was in his first year as an assistant principal, is serving as interim principal at West Brazos Junior High. Staff was informed of that change Nov. 14 and students had a letter sent home regarding the change Nov. 15.
In the past, West Brazos Junior High had only one counselor, assistant principal and principal. This year, the school increased to two assistant principals along with the other positions, so they are not lacking administrators at the campus, Galloway said.