Constituent school board chairman resigns amid investigation

VIDEO: Constituent school board chairman resigns amid investigation

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The chairman of the Charleston County District 20 Constituent School Board stepped down as chair amid an investigation into allegations of blackmail.

District 20 constituent board members accepted Tony Lewis's resignation as chair of the board at the scheduled meeting Wednesday night, but Lewis will remain a member of the constituent school board, Charleston County School District spokesman Andy Pruitt said.

Charleston Police were notified of a text message and voicemail received by a district employee and allegedly sent by Lewis identifying "allegations of inappropriate behaviors at Burke High School," an incident report states.

The text message and voicemail also said that if specific individuals were not placed into specific positions within the school system, Lewis would "contact the media in an effort to expose the Charleston County School Board," the report states.

The report does not specify the alleged "inappropriate behaviors," nor does it identify the people or positions mentioned in the texts and voicemails reported to police.

Lewis was reprimanded by one board member after the board returned from a second executive session, Pruitt said. The board then voted to accept the resignation.

Late Wednesday, the Charleston County School Board issued a statement on the situation:

"We take allegations of this nature very seriously. We have turned this matter over to law enforcement, which will have our full cooperation and assistance. We have no further comment at this time."

Downing Child will now serve as chair of the District 20 board while Christopher Ellis will serve as vice chair, Pruitt said.

Lewis is running for the county school board against downtown incumbent Todd Garrett in November.

A request for a comment from Lewis was not immediately returned.

The District 20 Constituent School Board covers downtown Charleston.

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