West awaits decision, ready to return

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 2004

Greenville Elementary School Principal Joseph West said he remains focused on God and that his ready to go back to work.

West remains on paid administrative leave for an alleged incident involving a student at the school. Superintendent Mike Reed placed West on leave Sept. 7, 2004.

West said Friday he is ready to go back to the school.

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&uot;I want to go back,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m ready to go back. I miss my children and I want to go back to them.&uot;

The school’s principal said he is waiting on the superintendent.

&uot;I’m waiting on Dr. Reed to give his okay,&uot; he said.

As for the allegations, West said his attorney has advised him not to comment too much, but he did say the whole experience has left him heartbroken.

&uot;I’ve been away from my children for over three months and I want to go back,&uot; he said.

Reed’s office was called Friday for comment.

He was at a meeting in Birmingham and no one answered at his home.

Butler County Department of Human Resources Director Freda Stevens said it is the policy of that department to neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation is taking place or has been completed.

It was the understanding at the onset that any findings by DHR would be turned over to District Attorney John Andrews.

He said Friday via phone from the courthouse in Lowndes County that DHR has turned nothing over to him.

&uot;I haven’t been given anything on this,&uot; he said.

&uot;I don’t know of anything new at this time. I got an initial report from Greenville Police Investigator Wink Fussell and that’s it.&uot;

Andrews also said he wondered what was taking so long but would not comment on the past three months.

&uot;It seems like a long time, but I don’t know what all they had to do or who all they had to talk to,&uot; he said.

As for West, he said he has attended regular church services in the last three months to get his life revitalized.

&uot;I’ve been praying and hoping that this turns out in my favor,&uot; he said.

&uot;That’s all I can do.&uot;

He said he is grateful for the support of his family, friends, many of his teachers and also parents of the students at the school.

&uot;Their support means a great deal to me,&uot; he said.

&uot;My family and friends are telling me to hang in there and hold on.

That’s what I’m doing.&uot;