Local News

Robeson appeals workers' comp award to wounded principal

Posted December 30, 2010

— Robeson County Schools has appealed a state commission's ruling that a principal who was shot last year on his way to school deserves workers' compensation for his injuries.

The state Industrial Commission ruled recently in favor of former Fairmont Middle School Principal James Hunt. Deputy commissioner Phillip Baddour III says it was more likely than not that the shooting was connected to Hunt's anti-gang efforts at the school.

The former Marine was hit by a shotgun blast in April 2009 by someone in a pickup truck who pulled alongside his Jeep Cherokee. Despite a shattered mouth and nose, Hunt drove 15 miles to a hospital in Lumberton.

In a July 2009 interview, Hunt said he was convinced his shooting was school-related and possibly gang-related. Two days prior to the shooting Hunt said he held a “Stop the Violence” rally at his school.

School district lawyers maintain that taxpayers shouldn't have to pay compensation because the shooting happened while Hunt was away from school property.

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  • nanasix Dec 30, 2010

    What you don't understand is simply: An individual is entitled to Worker's Compensation if they are injured while enroute to work, at work, or on the way home from work. This man is definitely covered under worker's comp. Get smart, that's 75% of his salary paid by the insurance company (hopefully) vs. 100% of his salary. It doesn't matter where he was leaving from, "HE WAS ENROUTE TO WORK" THEREFORE HE'S COVERED!

  • RM24 Dec 30, 2010

    This is why no one will stand up for what is right. If you do so and something happens then everyone turns their back. If a gang shot this guy and he was working in the schools with an emphasis to stop gangs then we know who shot him. Its not a major mystery I don't think. If thats the case then he should get paid. He may end up with disability either way. Or is he going to go back to work and try to continue the fight. I say good for him. Pay him. Take care of someone that is trying to make his home and people around him better and help them live in a safer place. We spend millions of unemployment to people who spend that on drugs. And disability to those working under the table. So lets see that the right thing is done here.

  • robertgiles2 Dec 30, 2010

    What gang are the members of the school board members of?
    Why are they promoting proliferation of gangs by appealing this principal's workman's comp benefits. Is it because that school system is just too cheap to provide safe schools for their students. Are they wanting him to suffer because he is making a difference or are they wanting to discipline him for doing a job they don't want...safe schools where children can learn without intimidation? But look who's getting intimidated..the principal.......or is simpler than that? That he is an ex marine that served his country and they want to discriminate against a Lumbee as that county has always done. If he was law enforcement going to work there would never have been a question.....the fact that the principal was doing more than required and without sufficient resources...the..the board wants to sweep their mistakes and shortcomings under the rug....TYPICAL Robeson County style....

  • dsalter Dec 30, 2010

    The word in RobCo is that he was leaving his girlfriends house.

    I live in Robeson County and this is news to me. I've not heard the first comment about this man that is not positive. He was on his way to work, and principals and teachers work long and stressful hours. Many of which they do not get paid for. I should know, I'm married to a teacher.

  • Legal Lady Dec 30, 2010

    bench- I feel terrible for what happened to him but this issue is not about compassion, it's about the law and the attorneys for the school system have to follow the law for WC in this state. If compassion equaled law and statute, our justice system would be a bigger mess than what it already is. I never said that I agreed with the school system's appeal, I said that I UNDERSTOOD why they are doing it. Also remember, the attorneys are doing what their insurance adjusters (ie- the "bosses") are telling them to do. It's not always the attorney's call. They are at the mercy of their clients.

  • marks66 Dec 30, 2010

    The word in RobCo is that he was leaving his girlfriends house.

  • housemanagercary Dec 30, 2010

    I am usually screaming about taxpayer money, but I hope this man wins and the school board loses the appeal. If there were another reason for the shooting the police or the media would have found it by now.

  • akomashere Dec 30, 2010

    "he was not technically "working".... remember folks, he's a state employee so he has State Health Plan as his insurance carrier PLUS I think I saw that he was in the military so he should have Tri-Care as well. I'm sure his medical bills are either paid for or he owes very little." - Legal Lady

    He was a Marine, meaning past tense. Discharged military no longer receive Tri-care and will only receive medical care from the VA for combat related injuries or ones incurred while in the Marine Corp.
    Ps. State Health Plan isn't as wonderful as others have made it seem. Yes, you have the option for a free plan BUT like the saying goes... You get what you pay for. I completely agree that it free and more than others have and never to bite a gift horse in the mouth BUT when you have to buy supplemental plans to cover everything, it isn't exactly "Free".

  • dcatz Dec 30, 2010

    Fools.

    You want to talk about wasting tax payers money, let's talk about legal fees and all the overpriced lawyers that are being paid by the school system.

    No doubt this appeal was pushed for by the attorneys; they need to stay in business after all.

  • bench Dec 30, 2010

    @Legal Lady - "I understand why they are appealing the IC's ruling."

    You understand from a Legal reason, what about from a compassion reason? This is why people generally hate lawyers. 'If it's legal it must be right' is your logic.

    Would he have been shot if he wasn't a principal fighting the gangs? Obviously no. Will he be able to get another job equal to what he had? Probably no; from the descriptions, he probably looks quite a bit less attractive now than he used to. Should the state compensate him for his loss? I say "yes".

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