Valerie Clark, then principal of Central Gwinnett High School, retired in January 2009 after 38 years as an educator. A month later, news reports surfaced that an internal investigation had been under way to determine if she had blocked a disciplinary action against her son for allegedly soliciting marijuana on campus. Clark released a statement at the time saying she initially “did not have all the facts” and thought the incident had occurred off-campus. The school subsequently investigated and took all of the students to a disciplinary panel, she said.
Clark’s 2012 election opponent, Timothy Swiney, alleges that she co-sponsored a bill mandating destruction of school employees’ investigative files if they did not end in disciplinary action, “effectively destroy[ing] all evidence of wrongdoing.” The bill in question, however, did not pass and, even if it had, would not have sealed Clark’s investigative file.