Community Reacts To Termination of Longtime Decatur High Media Clerk


If you’ve scrolled through FFAF this week, you’re probably now well aware of the wellspring of concern that’s bubbled up online around Decatur over the termination of DHS Media Clerk Susan Riley on Friday.

Decaturish summed up the story HERE, nothing that “The decision angered many people, including DHS students, graduates and parents of current and past students. Decaturish received numerous emails on Friday evening stating that Riley was beloved by her students and had served with an impeccable record.”

Decaturish also noted Ms. Riley received a Decatur Hometown Hero award in 2011 and that “Several people familiar with her situation said that Riley…is in the dark about why she was let go.”  In a letter sent to members of the DHS community, and forwarded to Decaturish, Superintendent David Dude defended his decision to let Ms. Riley go, stating…

I wish we could all have an open and honest discussion about the situation, and am confident you would come to the same end result as I did, but unfortunately that is not possible…It’s unfortunate that I’ve had to make such a decision so early in my time here, but we must play the hands we’re dealt. I could have made the easy decision, but I instead made the right decision. I believe that even in my short time here I have shown that I am a person of honesty and integrity. You and others will judge me as you see fit, based on the incomplete information available to you, and I accept that, as imperfect as it is.

Community members have scheduled a rally across the street from Decatur High School on North McDonough for this Monday from 7:30a-9a in support of Ms. Riley.

15 thoughts on “Community Reacts To Termination of Longtime Decatur High Media Clerk”

  1. Not good. But clearly Superintendent Dude clearly believes the grounds for termination are “with cause” and is confident of his decision should the facts ever reach the light of day via the Courts. Curious to see if a lawsuit by Ms. Riley (should she file a lawsuit against DHS) would pass Summary Judgment. Likely settled out of court…

  2. Somewhere in the torrents of posts and emails, I have heard that Ms. Riley had new supervisors who were not happy with her work. Full disclosure that I still have no personal experience with any of the players or their performances and therefore reserve judgment on fault until the details come out. But I will say that I want these new supervisors to immediately pick up the slack left by a sudden middle-of-the semester dismissal that couldn’t wait until the end of the year. A media clerk does tons of mundane but vital clerical tasks for students and teachers, not to mention the encouragement, guidance, and “mothering” that this particular media clerk was renowned for. I hope that her supervisors do not consider themselves above these tasks and are prepared to work double time to fill in the gap that they created. It’s not the fault of the students or teachers the way this played out.

  3. This situation is so very peculiar and the negative reaction has been so intense that I feel the school board needs to weigh in. Do they support the decision of the superintendent they so recently hired?

      1. So you think the board would review/approve all school system employee terminations? I wasn’t sure that was the case.

        1. I am not sure but I think that School Boards usually are not supposed to get involved with day-to-day operational issues like the hiring and firing of staff. But this was a special situation.

  4. I am stunned that there were none of the typical steps most employers (including CSD) go through when there are issues with an employee. Verbal warning, written warning, suspension, then termination. This leads me to believe Dr Dude blindly followed the recommendation of Mrs. Riley’s new supervisors. This makes me question his judgement and wonder if he is the right fit for Decatur.

    1. Just curious, but how could you possibly know the “typical” steps weren’t taken? Sounds to me like either you know more than you are willing to share or you are jumping to conclusions. And if you think suspension is typical, you are mistaken.

  5. Just saw post from Dr. Dude, Superintendent, on Facebook: “Over the last two days, some significant accusations have been raised regarding the validity of the investigation, and resulting information, that led to the termination of Mrs. Riley’s employment. In fairness to all involved, I have suspended the termination and provided Mrs. Riley with paid leave while I bring a third party in to conduct a full and impartial review. Appropriate action will be taken based on the outcome of the review.”

    I like this response and hope for whatever is the just and fair outcome for all involved and the best outcome for the students. And it’s been heartwarming seeing all the donations ex-students having been making to Mrs. Riley’s support fund on gofundme–the kids are still all right.

  6. This decision to rescind the termination and launch an independent investigation is the first inkling of sanity in this whole affair. Kudos to Dr. Dude for having the courage to backtrack on his decision, but I am withholding judgement until I hear the details on the “3rd party investigation”. Meanwhile I will be showing my support for Ms. Riley tomorrow at 7:30.

  7. This is huge. Praise and respect for Dr. Dude for stepping back to have a third party come in to review the decision. A few years ago, a local, very small, private high school had a similar situation. A misunderstanding blew out of control and in no time two talented, seasoned, beloved teachers were fired. The teachers were never given a reason. How I wish someone would have stepped back and had a third party come in to assess and evaluate. Many hearts were broken and the whole unfortunate episode set a horrible example for the students.

  8. I am mortified by this whole situation. Whatever happens – and I truly hope justice is served in the end – the idea that people (and most especially our education professionals/administrators etc.) can be terminated without even being given a reason is very disturbing. I know nothing about what has transpired here but I do know something is not right. This is not how Decatur works.

    1. Georgia is a right to work state, and employers are not required to give a reason for termination. If they do, they are more likely to be sued.

  9. In an AJC article today, Dude told the reporter that he may have been misled or lied to. So, I wonder, is anyone else at CSD out on leave pending the results of an investigation or just our sweet Susan?

Comments are closed.