Lowndes County superintendent faces charges

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd is free on bond after turning himself in to face charges of reckless endangerment of minors.

The charges of 243 counts of reckless endangerment were filed by Hayneville Police Chief Kelvin Mitchell, and were filed in connection with the way the superintendent handled the case of a Hayneville Middle School janitor, who pleaded guilty to enticing a child for immoral purposes.

According to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office personnel, Boyd, 50, turned himself in and made bond of $5,400 for one count of reckless endangerment at 8:25 p.m. on April 17.

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“This is a really sad state of affairs,” Boyd said.

Lowndes County School Board attorney Hank Sanders is representing Boyd, and said Mitchell is “overstepping” his authority.

“I’ve represented school boards since 1982 and never in all these years have I seen a situation where a local police chief was trying to substitute his judgment for a superintendent who had followed all of the rules and for a board of education that has made a decision,” Sanders said. “This is an attack on the superintendent. When you look at it, these 243 charges — that’s outrageous.”

Sally Howell, executive director of the Alabama Association of School Boards, also called the situation outrageous.

“What else can you call this scenario but utterly outrageous? What a sad day it is when school officials can be arrested for following the law and abiding by school board policy,” she said. “Dr. Boyd’s responsibility was to take seriously the student’s allegation, contact the Department of Human Resources, place the accused janitor on leave and conduct an internal investigation. His internal investigation simply did not yield sufficient evidence to corroborate the allegation. It is unconscionable to suggest that Dr. Boyd put a single student in harm’s way given the information available to him following the investigation.”

Lee Andrew Saffold, 47, of Hayneville, who was employed as a janitor at Hayneville Middle School, was indicted on charges of sexual abuse second degree, enticing a child and sexual contact with a student, but eventually pleaded guilty to enticing a child for immoral purposes.

Boyd said Saffold was working at Hayneville Middle School when he was accused.

“On Sept. 30, it was reported by a student that Mr. Saffold had touched her inappropriately,” Boyd said.

According to Boyd, the principal contacted DHR and Saffold was placed on leave with pay pending an investigation. He said Saffold reported back to work at the Central Office Oct. 11 and was placed at Central Elementary where he worked until his arrest on Oct. 24.

“We did our internal investigation, and we did not find any evidence to corroborate what the student was saying,” Boyd said.

Mitchell declined to comment on Boyd’s case.