Blue Ridge High School principal Reena Watson confirmed in a statement that she does not plan to return as principal of Blue Ridge next school year.
But Watson, the Greenville County Schools’ longest-serving high school principal, said in the statement that she had not officially resigned or retired from the district.
Greenville County Schools announced that Watson would not be returning to Blue Ridge next year weeks after a change.org petition began seeking to “remove Ms. Watson from Blue Ridge High School.” The petition had 803 signatures as of Monday. Its goal is 1,000 signatures.
Watson said the petition was not started by a student, but by an adult, Jason Barrett, who does not have a current student at Blue Ridge High School.
Previous report:Longtime Blue Ridge High principal retires amid growing petition against her
Barrett said on the petition that “She (Watson) continues as she has over the years to let the kids go wild and more and more abuse continues to happen under her authority.
“It has become a serious concern for parents of students at Blue Ridge and must be effectively replaced immediately.”
Barrett did not respond to a request for an interview on Facebook. Watson also declined to comment outside of his emailed statement.
Watson said in his statement that “Never, ever did the students spread under my direction.”
“With 20 years of experience at school, I have had the opportunity to interact with over 20,000 students and at least 40,000 parents. Over 700 signatures on an online petition seem very small when one look at that impact.”
Watson also said that to date she has not read the comments written about her on the petition.
“A lot has been shared with me,” she said. “It’s very disheartening to know that people get emboldened to sit behind a keyboard and write half-truths, misrepresentations and make such cruel and disrespectful comments.”
Watson has worked with Greenville County Schools for 27 years, including four years as vice principal at Blue Ridge High and 16 as principal.
The petition was launched in March. Greenville County Schools posted a job posting for Watson’s position on April 1.
On Friday, April 8, Greenville County Schools spokesperson Tim Waller shared that Watson “recently informed us that 2021-22 is her final year as principal and that she is considering other options in the district as well as the retreat and will make this decision in the coming weeks.”
The following week, Waller said Watson informed the district that she planned to complete her 16th year as principal and “we, of course, wish her every success in her next steps.”
“We appreciate his dedication to the Blue Ridge community and Greenville County schools over the past 27 years,” Waller said.
Watson said she would proudly leave Blue Ridge High “knowing that I represented my school to the best of my abilities and made decisions that were always in the best interest of my school, even if the decision was not popular.” .
“I put my heart and soul into running Blue Ridge High School. I have dedicated my life and career to this school; I truly love my students – the ‘Fighting Tigers,'” he said. she stated.
The Greenville News has filed freedom of information requests for Watson’s emails, complaints and personal records with schools in Greenville County.