Smithfield, North Carolina – Tensions ran high at the Johnston County School Board meeting on Tuesday night as people expressed both frustration and support for embattled school board member and suspended Smithfield police officer Ronald Johnson .
“Our teachers are doing great things and our kids should be first. Every time we listen to the news, all we hear is the Johnston County Public School drama,” said a person who identified herself as a Johnston County parent and former educator. “We’re fed up.”
Tuesday’s public comment period focused on whether or not Johnson should be forced to relinquish his seat for violating school board policies.
He is accused of secretly taping board members 10 times. It is also claimed that he used his status to try to change the school assignment of two special education students.
“You are a bully, and the Johnston County School Board will not tolerate harassment or bullying in its school setting,” resident David Marshburn said.
During the public comment period, Johnson, whose term is not until 2024, was seen laughing.
Johnson rejected the board’s request last month when it censured it by a 6-1 vote.
“The greatest weight will be in your favour,” he told the board in August. “I refuse to participate in what I believe to be a witch hunt.”
The longtime Smithfield Police detective has been on leave since July as the department launched an internal investigation. Currently, he is on leave from the police department without pay.
While many speakers threw daggers at Johnson, some spoke out in support.
Last month, the board turned to the Johnston County District Attorney for help in removing Johnson from office and reviewing the investigation.
WRAL News contacted the district attorney, but she did not respond.