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Nash County principal replaced after student's throat slashed

Posted March 28, 2012

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— The principal of a Nash County high school where a student's throat was slashed last week has been replaced, the Nash-Rocky Mount Public School System said Wednesday.

Connie Bobbitt, who was the principal at Southern Nash High School, will be reassigned to an administrative position that has yet to be determined, Superintendent Anthony Jackson said in a news release.

A 15-year-old girl at the school was charged last week with attempted first-degree murder after, Nash County sheriff's deputies say, she used a scalpel to cut 16-year-old Jasmine Barnes' throat during a class change.

The teen suspect also faces a charge of possession of a weapon on school grounds.

Investigators haven't commented on a motive for the attack.

In a statement to WRAL News, Jackson said his decision to replace Bobbitt with Nash Central Middle School principal Mark Cockrell was "totally focused on doing what is right to support the needs of the entire school community."

"I am confident that this change is supportive and respectful of the toll that events like these take on those who are closely involved," he said. "Now, as a result of the change, the entire school community can begin the process of focusing on regrouping, rebuilding, recovering and ultimately healing as they move forward."

Neither Bobbitt nor Cockrell could be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Jackson was unavailable for further comment, but district spokeswoman Sandra Drum said the decision was the best solution for the school at this time.

 Southern Nash Senior High School Nash County principal replaced after student's throat slashed

"The leadership of this school has gone through a tremendous amount with the events of the last two weeks, in particular," she said. "It was determined that it would be better for that leadership, as well, for the school community to be able to start fresh."

Meanwhile, the suspect charged in the school attack – authorities aren't releasing her name because she is a juvenile – is in the custody of the county's juvenile justice department, the Nash County Sheriff's Office says.

The school system says that although the principal and teachers knew nothing about the attack, at least five students knew it was a possibility but didn't report it.

As a result, the district has started a program called "My Safe School," where anyone go online, call, text or send an email to report concerns or rumors. Students can do so without having to worry about reprisal from their peers.

"We feel this will be a very effective way, or at least one piece of the puzzle, in handling the safety situations in our schools," Drum said.

Barnes is recovering from her injury at home.

"She is doing very well, taking it day-by-day," her mother, Stephanie Barnes, said Wednesday.

She declined to comment on Bobbitt being replaced, but said that she believes the blame ultimately lies with the teen who attacked her daughter.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • eddieoops Mar 29, 2012


  • delilahk2000 Mar 29, 2012


  • gr8dad Mar 29, 2012

    Charge the five students who knew of the possibility of an attack as accessories after the fact. The only way crazy acts like this and others like Columbine are for anyone who hears something, report it to the proper authorities immediately. Wake up kids!

  • short Mar 29, 2012

    Typical kneejerk? Now - why was the principal replaced? Oh yea, let's go around replacing all our Police Captains, every time there is a crime? Something's either missing big in this story....or its a kneejerk reaction misplaced fix.

  • hjandrj Mar 29, 2012

    I am very upset that this has happened to Ms. Bobbitt. This is one fine lady and great principal. So the actions of the students cost staff members their jobs? Dr. Jackson has come into an area in which he thinks he is going to get parents involved in their kids' lives who have never been involved in their lives before. When you start allowing the kids to have the run of the school, the teachers, principals, and staff members lose their credibility. WTG Dr. Jackson, you are setting a great example for the kids, letting them know they can have their way anytime they want because the teachers, principals, and staff members will be too scared to take action. Really?! And people wonder why kids are the way they are. Take discipline away and the staff fear their jobs. How about back your staff instead of being a heads will roll Sheriff because the students can't act right.

  • JustSayinToo Mar 29, 2012

    WOW! So this is what happens when a unruly student that has no home training attacks another student? The principal gets reassigned? Keep your head up Mrs. Bobbitt!

    The problem isn't administration, the problem is parents. School administration and teachers do what they can do with the limited resources they are given. They are supposed to teach your children with books! Respect and Right from Wrong should be learned from the home prior to entering Kindergarden!!!! Wake up people! You are raising our future of America!

    Funny this girl was 15, yet nothing has been mentioned about her parents or lack there of.

  • due_whats_right Mar 28, 2012

    Don't even worry about it.....ride your contract out, still impact lives and decrease your stress......unfortunately, it is the student's loss.....BTW, does this child have parents? I guess they have no blame in this? Why not arrest them instead of fire her?? Gotta love education.....

  • grantsherrod Mar 28, 2012

    From my view as a student of Southern Nash Connie Bobbitt was in fact an outstanding principal & executed her job as leader of SNHS with confidence & determination to prove that SNHS is the best high school in Nash County. If Dr. Jackson believed that she needed to be replaced then that is his decision as the Superintendent & leader of Nash Rocky-Mount Public School & if he believes that the new principle is the best replacement for her then we as students & parents of SNHS must respect his decision. I believe that he will be a great principal of SNHS & from what I have seen so far these past few days he will have a great success in bring SNHS back from the bad that we have been through as a school community. I support he’s administration as I did Mrs. Bobbitt’s & I hope that everyone can see that none of the decisions were made to make anyone look back or seem weak! Mrs. Bobbitt was & still is in many people’s eyes a great principal & I wish her the best & she will be missed!

  • iheartralmas Mar 28, 2012

    A message was sent to the youth of Nash Rocky Mount Schools on Monday night. The message was....you want to get rid of a principal, have a minor do something stupid at school and the principal will lose his or her job...That's the message the youth of NRMS got! Shame on the Superintendent and the School Board for not backing a woman with an impeccable 20 year plus record. As far as the other Principal's of NRMS....look out, you have no support! It could be your job, your character, and your livelihood next. The message has been sent LOUD AND CLEAR by your very public superintendent, who might I say is very visible on your website, in your local paper, and local radio stations....until now when something has gone wrong. How come he did not do this interview?

  • pinball wizard Mar 28, 2012

    Accountability - teachers, school board, superintendent, principal

    No accountability - students and parents

    If anyone has an true experience in today's schools, you know that the opportunity that kids have is very under appreciated by most of the kids.