Parents continue to call for Trotter’s resignation

COUNTY — Despite continuing public outcry over allegations he made derogatory statements in reference to special needs children in county schools, Pickens County school board trustee Ben Trotter remains steadfast in his denial of the accusations.
“It’s not going to be resolved,” Trotter said at Monday night’s school board meeting. “There is no answer. No end. They aren’t going to let it die. They’ll come every month, and I’ll have to sit here and take it.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the School District of Pickens County released a synopsis of a February 28 faculty meeting at Liberty Middle School, signed by more than 20 teachers, LMS assistant principal Wanda Tharpe and LMS principal Donivan Edwards. In the synopsis, the employees allege that Trotter said “Over at Liberty High, we have retarded children in wheel chairs doing nothing but playing with cars and taking up space… In my day we kept those kids at home.”
Trotter maintains he never used the “R-word” and has called Edwards a liar.
Several parents of special needs children in the School District of Pickens County spoke at Monday night’s regularly scheduled meeting, urging Trotter’s fellow board members to say something in response to the alleged comments.
“Mr. Chairman, you and other board members have chosen not to investigate or denounce remarks made by Mr. Trotter. I ask tonight Mr. Chairman and school board members, what are you going to do?” said Brett Turner, whose daughter Jordan is in the special needs program in Liberty. “None of you, to my knowledge, have publicly shared your thoughts. We ask and demand that you share with us where you stand on this matter.”
Another parent, George Case, thanked SDPC Superintendent Dr. Henry Hunt for speaking publicly against Trotter’s alleged comments.
“We want to teach our children to apologize when things are said that shouldn’t be said,” said Case. “If the ‘R-word’ was said, then I would at least like to hear a public apology.”
The only apology offered Monday night was by Trotter for using a four-letter curse word during a previous board meeting.
Jimmy Gillespie was the only board member to address the concerns of the parents or the comments attributed to Trotter.
“As far as this thing with Mr. Trotter, maybe he said it, maybe he didn’t,” Gillespie said. “He told me he didn’t, and I choose to believe him. I’m not a special-needs child but I’ve heard a lot of comments that were said about me and Mr. Trotter. We’re not capable of being on this board. We’re not well-educated. We’re morons. We’re stupid. I’m not going to call for any kind of investigation. I’ve got names. Maybe you said it. Maybe you didn’t. This whole thing is just ridiculous.”
At this point, there has not been an investigation, and it does not appear as though there are plans to conduct an investigation going forward.
“I believe these alleged statements are true and nothing less than the resignation of Mr. Trotter is sufficient,” Turner said. “I am surprised that no one said anything. I would think someone would have stepped up and did the right thing. The board members are supposed to be advocates for our children. It is disturbing.”
Trotter said that while he will not seek reelection to the school board, he will not resign.
“You know as well as I do,” said Trotter. “If I resign, I will look guilty as sin.”