HENRYETTA — Ryal Public School board members voted during a board meeting Monday night to suspend its superintendent.
The two-member board voted to suspend Scot Trower with pay pending the outcome of an investigation into comments he made to a reporter with The Oklahoman last month, school board member Robert Bennett said.
A third seat on the board was recently vacated due to a death and has not been filled, so the second vote for suspension by board member Jason Harjo made the decision unanimous, Bennett said.
“Mr. Trower was suspended with pay pending further investigation and action by the board,” Bennett said.
“A pretty good crowd turned out and voiced their opinions on how things went. They weren't happy about how the community was depicted. The story portrayed the Ryal community in a very negative light.”
Bennett said he could not address the accusations in further detail Tuesday night because of the investigation, but defended the community.
“It's the beginning stages. We don't know what's going to happen,” he said.
“The vast majority of our kids live in houses with electricity. They do have shoes. Their parents do work. Lots of our students go on to be schoolteachers, doctors, lawyers and professionals.”
“We felt like the article that ran in The Oklahoman (that quoted Trower's statements about the Ryal community) was really a situation where the kids at the school, the community overall, was not portrayed truthfully. And when it comes to those types of things, especially in my position, I felt like I had to defend students and staff,” Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief George Tiger said.
“I said it publicly in my comments last night what I think is best. I looked at Mr. Trower and said I think it would be best if he tendered his resignation,” Tiger said.
Trower was not available for comment.