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DeKalb School Board schedules hearing on ethics complaint against Dr. Joyce Morley

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DeKalb School Board schedules hearing on ethics complaint against Dr. Joyce Morley

DeKalb County School Board member Dr. Joyce Morley virtually attends the boards regular meeting on May 9, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

DeKalb County, GA — The DeKalb County School Board will hold a hearing on May 31 to consider an ethics complaint against school board member Dr. Joyce Morley.

Morley is accused of violating the board’s ethics code during its recent superintendent search.

Morley appears to have run afoul of the district’s ethics code when she disclosed private conversations that occurred in executive session to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Those conversations were about hiring Dr. Devon Horton as the district’s new superintendent.

The board hired Horton 6-1, with Morley voting “no.”

Morley told the AJC that the complaint is about silencing her.

The hearing begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be held in the cabinet room of the school board offices, located at 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083.

To view a live stream of the hearing, click here.

The school board plans a closed-door executive session immediately following the ethics hearing.

This is not the first time Morley has been accused of undermining a superintendent search. Rudy Crew, a finalist for superintendent who never got the job after the board decided not to hire him, won a $750,000 settlement after accusing the school board of discrimination. In the suit, Crew, who is Black, accused Dr. Morley of making comments about Crew’s late wife being white.

At least 2/3 of the board members conducting the hearing would have to vote to find Morley committed the violation and impose sanctions. Morley would not be allowed to vote in that scenario. That vote will have to be taken in public.

If Morley is found to have violated the board’s ethics code, she potentially faces:

— Censure or reprimand

— The board publicly disavowing Morley’s improper acts or statements

— The board asking Morley for a public apology

— The board reporting Morley to the school district’s accrediting agency

“A Board member subject to sanction may, within thirty (30) days of such sanction vote, appeal such decision to the State Board of Education in accordance with the rules and regulations of the State Board of Education,” the board’s ethics code says. “A record of the decision of the Board to sanction a Board member for a violation of this Code of Ethics shall be placed in the permanent minutes of the Board.”

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