A former Florence One Schools official is being investigated by the South Carolina Department of Education for allegedly making threats to the chairman of a school board.
Kelvin Wymbs, superintendent of Dorchester School District 4, is being investigated for allegedly threatening board Chairman Kenneth Jenkins, WCSC reported Friday.
Jenkins told the TV station that Wymbs had threatened him via text message after Wymbs accused Jenkins of leaking information from an executive session to the media. Jenkins said he denied to Wymbs that he had leaked the information.
Wymbs then allegedly called Jenkins a liar.
Jenkins said he shut his phone off for several hours, and when he turned it back on, he had several missed calls and text messages from Wymbs, some of which allegedly contained curse words and words Jenkins did not want to use.
Some of those messages were also sent to other board members and district employees.
Those alleged threats were turned over to the South Carolina Department of Education, which began an investigation.
The TV station also reported that a petition has been started to remove Wymbs from his position as superintendent.
The Morning News received reports that Wymbs had been suspended earlier this year as superintendent. However, the district responded to a Freedom of Information Act request by indicating that no documents responsive to the request existed.
Wymbs was hired by Dorchester Four in December 2019.
He did not return a request for comment to the TV station.
Prior to his hiring as superintendent, Wymbs previously served as the Florence One Schools secondary education director and was appointed acting principal of West Florence High School after Pam Quick resigned as principal on Feb. 23, 2018.
Wymbs and the district were later sued by two coaches, former basketball coach Pete Ellis and former football coach and athletic director Trey Woodberry, over Wymbs' conduct at West Florence.
Woodberry alleged in a lawsuit filed in July 2019 that on March 16, 2018, Wymbs threatened to fire him as football coach if the team did not have a good year in 2018 and that if the defense didn't improve, the defensive coordinator would be fired.
This was denied by the district.
Woodberry also alleged that Wymbs sent him several text messages after Quick's license was suspended in the fall of 2018.
Wymbs allegedly sent Woodberry four text messages saying, “I guess you have seen the story on WMBF. Merry Christmas [emoji] [emoji].”
The next text message read, “the lies are catching up with you your license is next!@ I cant wait!”
The third and fourth text messages read, “….! Oh and I forgot to call you. will turn all this over to the state department so you Charlie and your punk … wife can keep talking.”
Wymbs allegedly continued the text messages.
“slow wine punk … like the basketball coach from Hartsville did you tell your wife you punk …!!,” the text messages say according to the complaint. “when the truth hits Charlie devine trey is next!! bion shoemaker whipped your punk …!”
Devine was or is an assistant football coach at Conway High School.
Shoemaker is a former basketball coach at West Florence and Hartsville.
The complaint says Woodberry believes “wine” in the text messages to be an autocorrect change for “white.”
Ellis's lawsuit was settled but also contained an allegation of a threat made by Wymbs.
He alleged that while he was being pressured to resign as basketball coach, Wymbs threatened him with leaking information to the West Florence booster club about being forced to resign.
After Ellis's wife reported Wymbs's alleged threats to the district human resource office, Wymbs allegedly confronted Ellis.
This was also denied by Wymbs and the district in their response to suit.
Wymbs allegedly engaged in conversations about Ellis during the same time. He allegedly responded to Facebook posts about Ellis, saying, “West Florence look for integrity if you go along with wrong your just as bad as the perpetrator,” and “You don’t have to defend me from people who think they are entitled to do whatever they want i got this.”
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