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Layne reinstated as SCHS principal, will retire this year

Tommy Layne was back at Sequatchie County High School this week as principal, but he retires after this school year.

Jan. 7, 2019 – In December, Sequatchie County Director of Schools Pete Swafford decided to reinstate high school Principal Tommy Layne, after a two-month demotion. His decision, he said, came at Layne's request.

Monday, Dec. 3, he and I met and had a good conversation,” Swafford said Monday. “We talked about some mistakes that were made previously. He asked if I would consider reinstating him at some point. I told him I would give it some thought. After some careful consideration, about the 12th or 13th, I informed Mr. Layne that he would be reinstated for one semester.”

Layne was demoted from principal of Sequatchie County High School (SCHS) to part-time P. E. teacher at Griffith Elementary School (GES) because he “misinformed” Swafford about some students he allowed to enroll at his school after they were suspended from an adjoining school district for alleged sexual misconduct.

At the time of his demotion, Layne was close to retirement after serving over 20 years as principal at SCHS. His reinstatement is for one semester only, until his official retirement at the end of this school term.

Mr. Layne is retiring,” Swafford said, adding that he will be eligible for his full retirement, “and he would have been even without reinstatement. I felt like it was reasonable to bring him back, after that amount of time. And we move forward.”

When asked if he was under any pressure – pro or con – about the reinstatement, Swafford said, “Nobody pressured me, no.”

School board members, he said, “basically acknowledged that the director is the person that has to make personnel decisions.”

Before the 2019-20 school year starts, Swafford will have the responsibility of hiring a new principal to replace Layne.

On or around March 1, we will begin the interview process for those that are interested,” Swafford said. “I anticipate we will have some candidates from inside Sequatchie County, and I expect to have some from outside.”

When asked how he felt about it on Monday, Tommy Layne said, “I'm just glad to be back. I was planning on retiring at the end of the year anyway. I have a special bond with a lot of these kids and teachers, and I want to finish on my own terms.”

Director of Schools Pete Swafford made the decision to reinstate Layne as principal.