BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. (WBTW) – The superintendent of Marlboro County Schools has been placed on leave after allowing a fraternity that he is a member of to operate a facility on school property.
The majority of the Marlboro County Board of Education voted to place Dr. Gregory McCord on administrative leave Tuesday night during a special called meeting.
This comes after a September 13 Marlboro County Board of Education meeting in which McCord admitted that he allowed Omega Psi Phi to operate on the property of Bennettsville Intermediate School (BIS) without first conferring with the Marlboro County Board of Education. It was revealed that the district was paying the utilities for this building that sat behind the actual school building.
On Tuesday night, the board requested an investigation into the situation, including the costs associated with the fraternity’s use of its unit on district property. The district expects this to be completed within two weeks.
At the September 13 meeting, Gregory Cain, a member of the fraternity said that the group wanted to partner with the school district to use the facility as a place for youth mentorship, not as a fraternity house. He made a presentation to the board which was the result of a community concern about the facility. Cain said at that time that he would like to continue what he referred to as a “partnership” with the district. He also offered to have the fraternity reimburse the district to offset the cost of utilities.
When board member Michael Coachman asked Cain on September 13 who had authorized the fraternity to operate at this facility, McCord spoke up. Before McCord announced that he had provided authorization, he was asked by Coachman to recuse himself from the discussion, but McCord declined. McCord also said that two other members of the board were also members of the same fraternity. One of them recused himself during the Sept. 13 meeting.
After a discussion, the board voted 5-0 on September 13 to instruct the fraternity to remove the building from the property.
McCord told News13 after that meeting that if he could do it all over again, he “most definitely” would have handled the Omega Psi Phi situation differently and said he did not intend to go around the school board. He said part of his job as superintendent is to build partnerships in the community and he felt he was doing this by allowing for a space that could help children.
When asked for a comment or statement regarding being placed on leave Tuesday night, McCord sent this statement to News13:
No comment right now other than to say that all is well. We will get beyond this together. Today is still “the best day of my life!” When you do right, you sleep tight. (V.Ford)Gregory McCord, Marlboro County School District Superintendent
On Wednesday morning, board chair Larry McNeil provided a statement to News13. In it, he says the Omega Psi Phi mobile unit was dismantled on Tuesday, following the vote on September 13. He also said Dr. Jason Bryant, the district’s current associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, would be in charge of the district while McCord is on leave.
Unlike most Marlboro County School District meetings, Tuesday’s special meeting was not streamed on the Marlboro County School District Facebook page. News13 has asked why that was the case but we have not received a response.
On August 31, News13 had asked a Marlboro County School District spokesperson what the Omega Psi Phi building was being used for. On September 1, the spokesperson told News13 that the building “is used for nothing, but hopefully soon after Covid ends, it will be used for mentoring students from BIS.” When News13 followed up with additional questions about the facility following the September 13 board meeting, the spokesperson directed News13 to McCord.
Count on News13 for updates.