School board responds to DJJ takeover proposal

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The board of a residential public school for troubled teens opposes legislators' move to put the Department of Juvenile Justice temporarily in charge.

In a statement issued Thursday, the chairwoman of John de la Howe School in McCormick said the proposal sends the wrong message to students and families. Barbara Devinney pointed to a section in state law saying a nine-member board must be in control.

A spokesman says the board's existing five members approved the statement, three by phone.

It came two days after the House approved a one-year takeover as part of its budget plan.

Last month, the school's principal, president, chairwoman and vice-chairwoman resigned.

Their departure followed an inspector general's report that found the school spends excessively but doesn't assess whether it's successfully turning students' lives around.

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