Eastern High School principal Dr. Whitney Fliehman is being reassigned to serve as the principal of the Alamance-Burlington Early College, which is housed on the Alamance Community College campus in Graham.
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Fliehman’s transfer comes after two Eastern High School seniors and an Eastern parent, Candy Clarke, insisted in separate interviews with The Alamance News that Fliehman had given her students permission to do “senior pranks” the night of May 25.
Alamance-Burlington school officials have initially estimated the cost to clean up and repair the damage left by senior pranks at schools across the county at more than $4,000.
The two Eastern Seniors, Genesis Chinchilla, 17, of Mebane, who was a member of the girls’ soccer team, and Alejandro Martinez, 18, of Mebane and a member of the National Honor Society, told The Alamance News last week that seniors had been given permission in advance to do the “pranks.”
Both students said they’d been told there wouldn’t be any punishment if they cleaned everything up – which they described mostly as toilet paper streamers and Saran wrap – and were horrified to learn, five days before graduation, that they wouldn’t be allowed to attend their commencement exercises last Saturday.
Chinchilla and Martinez said that the school was unlocked when they arrived the night of May 25, and they were on the campus for at least an hour before police arrived, followed shortly thereafter by Fliehman.
Clarke, the Eastern High School parent, told the newspaper last week, “They went to the principal to ask for permission [in advance] and were given permission – as long as they did no damage, it was approved. It was the same night as the band concert, so students were allowed on campus after 3:00 or 4:00 p.m.”
Fliehman hadn’t returned a phone call from The Alamance News by press time last week, and still hasn’t responded.
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In an interview with The Alamance News, ABSS superintendent Dr. Dain Butler insisted Tuesday afternoon that he hadn’t been tipped off, nor had any school administrators informed him in advance, that the “senior pranks” were planned late last month at the six high schools (see separate story).
Fliehman’s reassignment to the Alamance-Burlington Early College (ABEC) was listed on the latest semi-monthly personnel report that Alamance-Burlington school board members voted 6-0 to approve during their work session Tuesday afternoon.
As principal at ABEC, Fliehman will be responsible for overseeing approximately 200 students, as compared to the more than 1,250 students who were enrolled at Eastern High School for the 2022-23 school year, enrollment data from ABSS shows.
Meanwhile, Catherine (“Suzanne”) Simpson has been appointed as the new principal at Eastern High School, effective Wednesday, June 14, based on a host of administrative appointments that school board members voted 5-0 to approve Tuesday afternoon.
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Simpson had previously served as an assistant principal at Eastern and most recently as the principal at the early college.