DOBSON — An assistant principal at a Surry Central is no longer receiving pay as he awaits a court date for charges of DWI and drug-related crimes.
He also faces more serious charges not indicated in earlier reports.
On Feb. 7 Benny Lee Baliles Jr., 31, was arrested by Dobson Police officials at about 8:30 a.m. A statement from the Surry County Schools indicated Baliles was immediately suspended from his post at the high school.
Initially, Baliles was suspended with pay, according to Surry County Schools attorney Fred Johnson. However, on Thursday, the district altered his suspension, and he is no longer receiving pay.
With the change in the conditions of his suspension, Baliles will face termination.
Though he noted he was not speaking of a specific case or employee, Johnson explained state statute requires the superintendent of a school system to initiate termination proceedings within five business days of placing an employee on suspension without pay.
According to Johnson, the Surry County Board of Education makes the final decision in terminating a school employee’s employment. Once the termination proceeding has been initiated, the employee has 14 days to request a hearing before the school board.
Johnson said a school employee is also entitled to appeal the board of education’s decision to superior court.
According to statements Dobson Police Chief Shawn Myers made to other media outlets, the tan Nissan Altima Baliles was operating veered off of South Main Street in Dobson, hitting two mailboxes at about 8:05 a.m. on Feb. 7.
An officer on patrol spotted the Altima near the intersection of Main Street and Atkins Street. The officer reported seeing the Altima cross the center lane and jump the curb on its way into the Sheetz parking lot.
Baliles reportedly circled the gas pumps before attempting to park near the entrance. Then the car hit a metal pole at the parking space.
The initial press release from the school district indicated Baliles had been charged with driving while impaired, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance — which includes many prescription drugs — and careless and reckless driving.
However, Johnson had noted the district was waiting to see if additional charges would be filed before moving forward with any disciplinary action.
Baliles is set to be in district court on March 28, where he will face charges of DWI, reckless driving with wanton disregard, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule II controlled substance.
Schedule II controlled substances include methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone and opium.
He is also scheduled to appear in district court on April 6, when he will face charges of failure to maintain lane control, reckless driving to endanger, leaving the scene of property damage, injury to personal property, and texting while operating a motor vehicle.
Baliles was in his first year with Surry County Schools, having been hired in August, according to Sonia Dickerson, district director of communications.
Prior to that, he had worked as an assistant principal in the Martinsville, Virginia, school district from August of 2012 to May of 2015. He was terminated by that district due to a reduction in force, according to a human resources representative from the district. His was one of a number of assistant principal positions cut as a result of budget restraints.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.