JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) - More than 100 students and parents gathered outside Jefferson High School before a Jefferson County R-7 school board meeting Tuesday to protest the board’s decision to place superintendent Clint Johnston on leave.
The board was scheduled to meet inside at 6:30 p.m. but the public was told they wouldn’t have the chance to address the board during the meeting.
"My concerns are the lack of transparency, the lack of communication," said Drew Null, a parent and past board member.
On April 17, the district released a letter that that said Johnston was on a leave of absence but no one with the district would explain the reason why. Reached by phone, board president Wayne Surratt told News 4 that it was a personnel matter and privacy laws prohibited him from releasing details.
“It’s a complicate matter. We’re doing our best to get our community through this,” said Surratt.
Johnston has been superintendent with the district for nine years and in the past has battled leukemia. But district officials are not saying whether the leave is due to health reasons.
"I just want answers why they let him go this close to the end of the school year," said Katey Boyer, a parent of three children in the district.
News 4 reached out to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to ask if Johnston was under criminal investigation, but a spokesman said he is not.
Middle school principal Cindy Holdinghausen is serving as interim superintendent.
UPDATE: June 11 at 6:30 p.m.:
Johnston is back on the job. He tweeted out that he is excited to get back to work.
I am excited to return to the greatest students, staff, administration, community and school district in the world. Blessed to be in public education serving children. Looking forward to seeing the BlueJay Nation continue our work for a better future one student at a time. pic.twitter.com/39WsYfJ6zM— Clint D. Johnston (@ClintDJohnston1) June 10, 2019
The district said the board of education is looking forward to working with him going forward.