Lowndes Co. Schools responds to superintendent gas controversy allegations

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 12:07 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 7:10 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Lowndes County Schools has released a statement regarding the allegations surrounding Superintendent Dr. Shawn Haralson’s use of fuel depots.

The school system said an investigation was launched into the issue.

In December, a Lowndes County School District employee reported there was a question of the superintendent’s use of fuel.

The school system said outside counsel was sought to investigate the allegations.

“As a result, outside counsel determined there was no credible evidence supporting the intentional misuse of school system fuel for personal use,” the school system said in a statement.

Haralson will reimburse $2,800 to the school system for “undocumented fuel use,” the school system said.

“Fuel has always been a reimbursable expense to school employees when conducting school business in their personal vehicles. The current superintendent authorized camera installation at the fuel depot,” the school system said.

But that statement from the school system doesn’t sit well with some of the people in this community.

“If the fuel in fact was used for school related or county related business, then there shouldn’t be a payback. So I think it kind of blurs by saying he’s going to pay it back, but there was nothing done wrong. Kind of blurs whether or not something was done inappropriately,” Jody Allen, a former Lowndes County Schools employee, said.

If you take a look at the video footage, you will see Dr. Haralson fills up his vehicle, but he also fills up what seems to be a large gasoline jug also.

“Either he did something that was inappropriate and therefore he needs to be replaced. Or he didn’t do something that is inappropriate. I know personally if I had to pay back $2800 dollars that I used in county business, I’d be upset about it. So I’m just curious to hear his side of the story, or the independent counsel, or somebody to explain exactly what’s going on.”

The school system says they continue to support Dr. Haralson as superintendent. They also say the community can express any concerns about the matter to the school system.

Here is the full statement from the school system:

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