A cloud of secrecy looms over the Smyrna School District after their now former Superintendent Patrik Williams was reportedly fired over the weekend following an executive school board session that district officials have refused to comment on leaving the public to speculate.
Concerned parents, staff, and citizens in the Smyrna School District took to social media Saturday after the school board announced an emergency meeting Saturday morning with no details as to what the executive session pertained to. Following that meeting, it was learned that the district’s Superintendent Patrik Williams had been relieved of his duties.
TV Delmarva News Director Rob Petree reached out to the offices of the Smyrna School District first thing Monday morning and spoke to Andrea McCready, executive secretary to the superintendent, who initially refused to provide any information, forcefully saying “no comment.” After we pushed for additional information, reminding her how the public deserves answers, she said “you don’t have to get pushy” and confirmed to us that Williams was in fact no longer the district’s superintendent.
When asked what the reasoning was behind Williams’ departure, McCready refused to provide any information and instead directed us to Assistant Superintendent Deborah Judy who is now operating as the Acting Superintendent for the time being in light of Williams’ departure. A message was left with Judy’s office requesting more information.
While the district has been reluctant to provide any specifics surrounding Williams’ absence, it didn’t take us long to find numerous online petitions, some of which date back all the way to January of last year, demanding his resignation over a host of alleged misconduct issues that were raised by concerned parents in the district.
“He is on paid leave until he is formally removed,” one woman wrote online. “His voice is silenced. His years of bullying teachers, staff, family members, students, and taxpayers has ended.”
Allegations of misconduct were raised in an online petition demanding Williams’ resignation.
“Williams carried on a very public, divisive and aggressive twitter social media campaign from May until late Fall 2020. In one tweet, Mr. Williams even tweeted an emoji “hand raise” appearing to volunteer to be ‘part of the mob’ to attack a federal government building and duly elected official in our nation’s capitol,” the petition read.
Williams came under fire back in February after he defended a controversial book that was being used in the high school curriculum for an AP class that detailed graphic descriptions of sex, violence, and racism which at the time outraged parents.
The book titled “Song of Solomon” is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel that the district says represents “academic, cultural, and generational diversity.” In the book, which has been banned by numerous states, with others requiring parental permission prior to allowing a student to read it, contains graphic descriptions of sexual intercourse, laden with profanities, and racist, homophobic language.
Here are some excerpts from the book:
- On Page 25 – “I want to BLANK! Send me up somebody to expletive! Hear me? Send me up
somebody, I tell ya or I’ll blow my brains out.”
- On Page 88 – “Who cares if you BLANK a white girl.”
- On Page 130 – “”You can drive that knife smack into your BLANK.”
- On Page 267: “You mean to tell me BLANK – referring to a woman’s private parts, different up North?” “BLANK the same everywhere. Smell like the ocean; taste like the sea.”
Williams defended the use of the book and issued the following statement to our news department which outraged parents who had called for it to be banned from the school’s curriculum:
“All of our AP courses offered at Smyrna High School are strictly voluntary, and students who sign up for them are introduced to postsecondary curricular content established by the College Board. Parents make the decision for their own students whether or not to enroll, and we are happy to accommodate their wishes,” Williams stated. “In short, there is no district requirement to take this particular course or any other AP course offered. Should any parent of a student enrolled in this particular course wish for his/her student to read an alternate work in lieu of Song of Solomon, all that is required is a simple request of the teacher to offer a substitution that remains consistent with the College Board’s curriculum.”
It remains unclear if the online petitions, or Williams’ handling of the book controversy, contributed to his abrupt departure. But, what is clear, is that for at least the past year a large group of parents and concerned citizens have been steadfast in their attempts to remove Williams as Superintendent.
At the time of publication, there still remains no official word on what the reasoning was behind Patrik Williams’ departure. This is a developing story and TV Delmarva News will bring you further details once they’re available.