QUESTION: Was the Alamance-Burlington school system’s director of Child Nutrition fired last week for bringing a handgun to work?
ANSWER: Yes, Pamela Bailey, the director of School Nutrition for ABSS, was immediately terminated for bringing a handgun to work last Thursday. Burlington police officers and ABSS chief finance officer Jeremy Teetor escorted Bailey from the school system’s Central Office on Vaughn Road in Burlington, where the School Nutrition program is based.
Bailey, for her part, acknowledged that she had been terminated for what she characterized as an “honest mistake” in a message she posted on Facebook.
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“I was terminated today after 19 years with ABSS for a honest mistake,” Bailey posted on her Facebook page last Thursday, adding, “‘LESSON LEARNED.’”
Asked by school board vice chairman Patsy Simpson whether it was true, Bailey responded, “very real, honest stupidity on my behalf.”
State law classifies it as a Class I felony for anyone – including students and employees but excluding school resource officers and/or other emergency services personnel – to possess a firearm on any property owned, used, or operated by a public school system.
The statute also provides an exemption which allows someone with a concealed-carry permit to have a firearm on school property; it stipulates that the firearm must remain at all times in a locked vehicle or in a locked compartment within the vehicle.
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Though Bailey said in her Facebook message that she had been fired, documents that ABSS furnished to The Alamance News Wednesday afternoon stated that she was suspended without pay last Thursday and resigned as executive director of child nutrition on Friday.
Bailey originally began her tenure with ABSS in January 2003 as a substitute foodservice worker and was promoted in April 2003 to cashier (apparently in a cafeteria), for which she received a pay raise, from $10,049 to $10,320, based on documents that ABSS furnished in response to a public records request by The Alamance News.
Over the next 18 years, Bailey rose through the ranks within the Child Nutrition division, receiving numerous promotions and raises until her promotion to the executive director’s post in August 2016. Including her base annual salary, state-funded longevity pay, and a non-recurring state and local bonus, Bailey’s final salary totaled $87,845, based on the documents that ABSS furnished in response to the newspaper’s public records request.
No charges appear to have been filed against Bailey in connection with the incident.
Melissa McCann, a spokesperson for the Burlington police department, told the newspaper Wednesday that a report of the weapon on school property had been called in last Thursday but that the department’s written report had not been completed. She said the newspaper would be furnished with a copy of the report “once it’s ready.”
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