Rockingham County School Board member Leonard Pryor resigned from his position on Wednesday, May 1.
“Please accept my immediate resignation as a board member of Rockingham County Schools,” Pryor said in his letter of resignation. “It was truly an honor to serve the citizens of Rockingham County North Carolina [sic], and I greatly appreciate the support of so many of its great citizens.”
The county elected Pryor in November 2010. He served at-large.
“As I came to my decision to run for an at-large seat on the board, it was my understanding that our board was non-partisan, and that providing our children with a quality education was paramount,” Pryor said in the letter. “It was my hope that politics would play a very minimal role in the focus of our board, but much to my chagrin this is not the case.”
Pryor took issue with this often in school board meetings.
Pryor said the board took an oath of office to support the United States Constitution and felt recent motions and topics of discussion jeopardized the school district and each individual board member with a threat of a lawsuit.
Pryor threatened to walk out of the last school board meeting held on Monday, April 22. Board member Ron Price asked the board to vote on allowing prayers to be held at the start of board meetings. Pryor told the board if the vote took place on April 22 he planned to walk out.
“According to the information presented to me, I would be obligated to defend myself in the court of law, [sic] and I will not jeopardize my family’s future if any such risk is present, no matter how small,” Pryor said in the letter.
Pryor cited media coverage as another reason for his resignation.
“In addition, media coverage during my term has intimidated at times that the board stands together as a whole on certain issues, which is simply not true,” Pryor said. “Since the public can form their own opinions based on what is reported in the media without hearing my side of the story, I am not willing to risk potential detriment to my livelihood either.”
Pryor said he didn’t sign up for this.
State law gives the board of education the right to appoint someone to fill Pryor’s spot until the next election. Pryor’s term expires in Dec. 2014.
Rockingham County Schools said in a press release the board of education plans to identify a timeline regarding the replacement process shortly.
To serve on the board of education, members must be residents of the county and registered to vote.
Pryor concluded his letter of resignation saying serving with the past and present members was a pleasure and he hopes the board continues its efforts to provide quality education for all the students inRockinghamCounty.