Group calls on governor to investigate firing of Berkeley Co. school superintendent

The school board voted 6-3 to fire Jackson at its Nov. 15 meeting, the first meeting held since the midterm election.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 1:19 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:41 PM EST
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MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCSC) - A group that includes clergy, teachers, parents, and community leaders is asking Gov. Henry McMaster to step in after the Berkeley County School Board fired its superintendent.

The Rev. Tory Liferidge, the pastor of Grace Reformed Episcopal Church, read a statement on the firing of Superintendent Deon Jackson, which he called “fraudulent.”

“We are making an appeal to Governor McMaster to assign the Inspector General to investigate the legality of this board and its action,” Liferidge said. “Governor, this is within your ability, and we need your help.”

The school board voted 6-3 to fire Jackson at its Nov. 15 meeting, the first meeting held since the midterm election.

Liferidge said the firing was illegal because state law dictates a school board member’s term of office cannot begin until one week after the certification of votes in an election.

“We must repair the public trust in order for our school district to move forward. And we need you to do that. Governor McMaster we’re asking you to act. By Monday we aim to have a minimum of 200 signatures to submit to your office,” Liferidge says.

The votes from the Nov. 8 midterm election, however, were not certified until Nov. 11, according to South Carolina State Election Commission spokesman John Michael Catalano.

The school board meeting on Nov. 15, during which Jackson was fired, occurred two days before the vote certification process was completed, more than a week before Liferidge argued the newly elected school board members could even have legally been sworn-in, much less taken action to remove Jackson.

“According to the Freedom of Information Act, there can be no private meeting of the majority of the school board, and yet, at the first meeting of this new board, there was already a selected board chair making calls in that role the weekend before, a new candidate selected, and as we are hearing now, a contract already prepared,” Liferidge said. “If there was not a meeting to decide this, then our situation is much more grave.”

The group is asking McMaster to assign the state’s inspector general to investigate the legality of the board’s actions.

The governor’s office has not yet said whether McMaster will call for an investigation.

The school board voted 6-3 to fire Jackson at its Nov. 15 meeting, the first meeting held since the midterm election.