DJJ: YDC principal fired for not reporting ongoing ethics investigation at former school

By: Kara Apel Email
By: Kara Apel Email
Brenda James-Ford (Picture from Griffin-Spalding County School System)

Brenda James-Ford (Picture from Griffin-Spalding County School System)

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Department of Juvenile Justice has made another firing at the Augusta Youth Development Campus.

The DJJ announced during a news conference Thursday that YDC Principal Dr. Brenda James-Ford has been dismissed after failing to report allegations of her involvement in grade-changing at Kennedy Road Middle School. The situation is still being investigated by the Professional Standards Commission.

DJJ Commissioner Avery Niles says Ford did not mention the situation during the hiring process, which is a violation of the DJJ Professional Credential Policy. The ethics investigation was opened in May before she was hired for the YDC position in July.

This comes one day after the DJJ announced the firing of Lt. Ricky Smiley and the suspension of current Interim Director Melvin Womble.

Niles says Smiley failed to follow up on his responsibilities as a lieutenant in connection to the assault of a 15-year-old inmate earlier this month. That teen was taken to the hospital with injuries.

While investigating this assault, the DJJ discovered another incident involving five inmates had taken place in November. The DJJ says the YDC did not report the incident. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now investigating this case.

Niles says more personnel changes are coming and that he expects to see a full-time director in place at the YDC by the end of the month.

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