HCHS student Kylie Mullins

HCHS student Kylie Mullins holds a printout of more than 600 “yes” votes that her anonymous, online petition drew in support of Dr. Greg Marion, who is one of six candidates for the next Director of Schools for Hancock County. Dr. Marion has taught at the school for the past 10 years.

SNEEDVILLE — Kylie Mullins, a student at Hancock Co. High School, told the Board of Education at its Thursday evening meeting last week that after she heard that Dr. Greg Marion, who has taught biology, chemistry, anatomy and physics at HCHS since 2010, had applied for the position of Director of Schools, she was curious to see how many others thought he should get the job.

At first, she said, she started a paper petition in support of him being chosen.

However, within minutes of making that petition available for students to sign, she said, “a teacher made the comment that my idea was stupid and pointless”, and told another student to “not get involved”.

Not to be deterred, Mullins said, she decided to create an ‘anonymous’, online petition so that anyone in Hancock County could participate in if they chose to do so.

As of the time of the Feb. 13, 2020, board meeting, she said, 639 people had ‘voted’ to show support for Dr. Marion.

Board members said that there should have been no backlash and commended the student for her taking an active interest in the process.

In fact, BOE member Freddie Mullins said, students could invite the candidates who are being considered for the post to meet with them in a student-led forum, with their parents’ permission, after school hours and not on school property, so that they could ask questions of those who are seeking to lead the school system.

In the last DOS search process, he said, the local teacher’s association held its own meeting with candidates for the position, and then brought their recommendation to the board.

State law allows local school boards to appoint non-voting “student board members” who sit in on meetings and get to offer their non-binding input, and one member said that may be something the BOE wants to look at doing in the future.