Metro Nashville Public Schools officials are standing by the head of the district’s security department in response to recent allegations that he embellished parts of his resume.
The inquiry into Reginald Young’s credentials opened on Friday, after a school board member questioned the extent of his leadership role at a former district. Superintendent Dr. Adrienne Battle said at a board meeting Tuesday that an internal review determined Young’s resume to be accurate.
“We conclude that the allegations made against Mr. Young’s qualifications for employment are unfounded,” she said.
Young’s background came under scrutiny amid broader complaints about the workplace culture in the security department. School board member Fran Bush conducted her own inquiry into the department’s leadership in early May after she says several security guards came to her with grievances about a pay disparity, retaliation and racial and age discrimination.
“These are people that take care of our kids,” Bush said. “We don’t want our officers to be faced with any distractions like this because it gets in the way of them doing their jobs.”
Bush’s inquiry led to what appeared to be discrepancies regarding Young’s tenure at Gadsden County Schools in Florida between December 2003 to June 2009, and whether he was the district’s chief of police and a member of the emergency management team.
When Bush reached out to the Gadsden County School Board, a staff assistant responded, “Mr. Young’s job description did not include Emergency Management or Chief of Police. Primary Duties were to investigate complaints and maintain a safe environment.”
The district’s findings tell a different story. Battle said there were sufficient documents to prove Young completed the tasks of chief of police and emergency management, even if his job title and description did not reflect that.
She added that the district’s investigators were able to verify Young’s experience with employers at Gadsden County Schools and said Bush’s findings were “based on a limited and incomplete set of documents.”
Regardless of the claims at hand, Sean Braisted, an MNPS spokesperson, said Young was largely hired based on his most recent tenure at Lake County School District, where Young served as the Manager of Security Services for seven years. There, he oversaw the Florida school district’s security policies and crisis management systems.
School board chair Christiane Buggs said she trusts Battle in serving the security department staff and she hopes that the board can focus on issues such as fair pay that have been overshadowed by the discussion around Young’s resume.
“I would like us to guide our conversations that way,” Buggs said. “I think we just kind of got lost in the weeds of other conversations.”
But, not everyone on the board was satisfied with the district’s findings. On Tuesday, Bush called for outside investigators to review Young’s background, but her motion did not gain enough support to be approved.
In attendance at the school board meeting was half a dozen school security officers — many of whom had been consistently visiting board meeting since their grievances were brought to members’ attention in early May.
As executive director of MNPS Security, Young is largely responsible for managing school security officers and coordinating with the Metro Nashville Police Department to oversee school resource officers.
While concerns about his resume might be settled, investigations into his employees’ grievances are ongoing.
After Tuesday’s board meeting, Bush said several security guards are considering taking matters into their own hands and requesting an external investigation into the department’s leadership.
“There was a win tonight because the security officers now have some options,” she said. “Nothing has been closed.”