GFHS principal resigns, five students expelled

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
School Board members weigh their options after hearing from one of five students ultimately expelled Tuesday night for marijuana possession and use. (photo: T.S. Strickland/CCN)

GREEN FOREST -- School Board members accepted the resignation of Barry Hardin, principal of Green Forest High School, at a special meeting Tuesday night.

Also Tuesday, the board accepted the resignation of Staci Farnan, a teacher's aid working with migrant students -- Her last day of work will be Dec. 22 -- and expelled five high schoolers for marijuana possession and use.

Hardin resigns

Speaking Wednesday, Hardin said he was resigning because of health concerns after suffering a stress-induced heart attack about a month ago. He attributed much of that stress to his position at the school.

"When you're the principal, all the decisions kind of come down on you," he said. "It's on your back. ... I've spent a lot of hours on weekends, a lot of hours after school, up here at my office."

Hardin also said he had considered the decision for a while, and the time seemed ripe for a transition.

His oldest son will graduate from Berryville High School in May, and his younger son will graduate from middle school in the fall.

"I wanted to make sure that he graduated from Berryville before we even thought about going anywhere else," Hardin said.

This is Hardin's third year as principal, and his fifth working for the district.

Before coming to Green Forest, Hardin had spent seven years at Berryville, where he taught science and coached baseball and football.

Superintendent Matt Summers said the School Board was taking "baby steps" toward finding a replacement for Hardin, and the search would not begin in earnest until spring.

As for Hardin, he said he was considering a return to teaching or coaching, though he might also take a job as an assistant principal.

"I'd love it if I could find a job coaching baseball -- just baseball," he said.

In an ideal world, Hardin said, he would take a job as an assistant principal and also coach.

Hardin said he did not know where he might go from Green Forest -- though he said he would like to return to Berryville, where his parents live.

"It seems like I'm kind of being pulled that way right now," he said.

Hardin said he had resigned on friendly terms and enjoyed his time at the district, but knew it was time for a change.

"I got out of coaching at Berryville because I had two back surgeries in a row," Hardin said. (He had the first, then got back in the field the next day and injured himself again.)

"I figured the good Lord was trying to tell me to get out of coaching then," he said. "I don't want Him to have to give me two heart attacks to get the message across this time."

[Editor's Note: View the resignation letters submitted to the board Tuesday here.]

Students expelled

Also Tuesday night, five students were expelled for violating the School District's drug policy and for insubordination.

Four of the students, all minors, were expelled for the remainder of the semester. A fifth student, 19-year-old Brandon Glover (Gauss), was expelled for the rest of the school year.

Summers said all five students had been placed in the Alternative Discipline Education Program earlier in the year for previous violations of the drug policy.

The superintendent said the program was usually a last resort before expulsion.

"We're trying to do everything we can to keep them in school," he said.

Green Forest Police Chief John Bailey, who also serves on the School Board, said no criminal charges had been filed against any of the students.

"Generally, we try to allow the schools to resolve these issues," Bailey said.

The Green Forest School Board will next meet at 5 p.m. on Dec. 17, in the Green Forest Alumni Center. For more information, call 870-438-5201.

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