Superintendent Robert Gray, 51, is set to appear in court on March 20, 2012 for the three misdemeanor charges.
The Mountain Pine School Board called a special meeting for Wednesday night to decide a response to the arrest. The only item on the agenda: Executive Session to discuss Gray's future employment with the district.
After spending about an hour in executive session, meeting behind closed doors, the board voted to place Gray on paid administrative leave.
While in executive session, parents and Mountain Pine alumni fumed over the superintendent's arrest.
"He represents Mountain Pine. Now, every time he walks into a meeting, that's what he's going to be known for: the guy who got drunk and got arrested trying to fight with law enforcement," said Mountain Pine parent Ann Jackson as she sat waiting for the School Board to reappear.
Garland County Sheriff deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call at Gray's residence on February 25, 2012. Gray's wife, Andria told deputies her husband had gotten drunk and was trying to prevent her from leaving the home with her other adult family members.
The deputy's report describes Gray as very intoxicated, with bloodshot eyes, and an aggressive demeanor. The deputy says in the report Gray on several occasions tried to get in the deputy's face and even made a swing at the deputy. In the end, he did grab the deputy's arm with such force that it bruised and broke skin on the deputy's bicep.
It's a far cry from the quiet, reserved superintendent that showed up at Wednesday night's meeting. And in the days since his arrest, Gray has remained in the driver seat of the school district, showing up for work as superintendent.
"I want to know how and why it was kept quite for so long," said parent Tammy Brown. "I feel like this is something we should have known about, and I feel like the school board's only taking up the issue now because it came out in the media."
School board members did not have anything to say to KARK before or after the meeting, with many of the members telling us no comment to our questions regarding its decision and the timing of the meeting.
However, one board member, Martin Jackson, did answer a few questions.
"A lot of parents are extremely upset about Mr. Gray's arrest. Why did the board make this decision tonight for paid administrative leave?" we asked Jackson as he left the administration building.
"He has rights, you know?" Martin said. "He hasn't been convicted of anything."
"So, being arrested for battery and public intoxication isn't a violation of personnel policy?"
"He hasn't been convicted, only charged," he said.
"What would you tell those parents out there who are upset by this?" we continued.
"Be patient," were his final words on the subject.
Gray declined to talk to KARK while walking into the meeting, and as he was leaving. We asked if he had anything to say to disappointed parents, he slammed the truck door on us and drove off.
Parents are none too happy about the school board's decision.
"I'm very disappointed, very disappointed," Ann Jackson said. "I thought our school district had higher standards and we did better to teach our kids differently. This just shows them that if you are in charge, you don't have to abide by the rules. They don't apply to you."
"I guess he will have his day in court, and then we'll be right back in this situation," said Brown. "This isn't the end. I imagine there will be a lot of decisions made in the coming weeks."
We were unable to obtain in personnel policies from the district that apply to the superintendent's behavior. However, the Arkansas School Board Association advises that the school board evaluate superintendents annually, and it includes amongst the evaluation criteria the level of respect the community feels for the superintendent and the level of professionalism and character shown in both his official and personal capacity.
"I can't respect him after this," said Brown. "I don't think the community can respect him."
"This may be the only time that this ever happens. This may be a one-time mistake and it will never happen again," Jackson added. "But it happened once. And that's enough. This man oversees the education of our kids and he's a role model for them. This is too important for second chances. I think he lost what little respect the community had for him on this."
Gray is slated to appear in court March 20th. He was hired by Mountain Pine as superintendent in June 2010. His contract expires in 2014.