County Schools To Keep Brainerd High Principal Despite Mistakes With Security Firm

  • Friday, March 10, 2023

Following the conclusion of an investigation by DCS related to Dr. Crystal Sorrells, Hamilton County Schools (HCS) has completed its review of the circumstances surrounding a Jan. 5th incident at Brainerd High School involving a student and an individual from a third-party security firm.

Through its review, HCS has determined that the third-party security firm was secured and allowed on campus by the school’s principal, Dr. Crystal Sorrells. The security firm was present on campus for opening on Jan. 4, the first day of school following the holiday break. Upon learning of the firm’s presence at the school, a district administrator instructed Dr. Sorrells not to allow the firm back on campus because proper procedures for vetting and contracting with a vendor had not been followed. The vendor returned to Brainerd on the morning of Jan. 5, at which time the incident occurred.

“After looking into the details of this incident, we know that mistakes were made,” said HCS Superintendent Dr. Justin Robertson. “In addition to not following district policy for contracting with a vendor, a directive from supervisory personnel to not allow the vendor on campus for a second day was not followed. The safety of our students and staff is the highest priority for Hamilton County Schools, and we take these mistakes by an employee very seriously, therefore disciplinary and corrective actions are in process.”

“However, Dr. Sorrells has a long history of being an outstanding administrator in our schools, and she is a proven and valued asset in our district. After considering all the facts, including Dr. Sorrells’ previous history as an administrator, and following a conversation with Dr. Sorrells, I have made the decision to return her to the principal’s position at Brainerd High School.

“The district will work with Dr. Sorrells on corrective action and remedial training in the areas where mistakes were made, including procedures for working with vendors, Board policy, and principal’s responsibilities. The district will give its full support to Dr. Sorrells and Brainerd High School as we move forward to ensure the school has the resources it needs to serve students in a safe and welcoming environment that is conducive to learning.”

Dr. Sorrells will resume her duties as principal of Brainerd High School on Monday. She had been suspended from her position since Jan. 30, pending the conclusion of the DCS investigation of the Jan. 5 incident.

“I am overjoyed to be continuing the work at my Alma Mater. Know that the safety and security of our students, staff, and school will remain a priority,” Dr. Sorrells said. “It is not my practice to circumvent policies and procedures. I humbly apologize for distracting from the great work being done at Brainerd High School and look forward to continuing progress as we strive, thrive, and grow together.”


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