Boonville Superintendent to Keep His Job

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BOONVILLE - The Boonville R-1 School District Board of Education announced a unanimous vote Wednesday to keep Dr. Mark Ficken as its Superintendent of Schools. The vote came after a closed personnel meeting Tuesday night.

Ficken was under investigation for his role in the August 10 Missouri State Fair rodeo incident, where a rodeo clown dressed up as President Obama.

The video of the incident went viral and drew widespread criticism toward Ficken, who was the announcer for the event. The clown allegedly made comments that many people called offensive and racist.

Former Columbia Public Schools superintendent, Dr. Jim Ritter and former Missouri Assistant Attorney General Rick Williams led the Boonville board's investigation and determined Ficken, "Had no advance knowledge of Mr. Gessling's [the clown's] plan to have someone impersonate President Obama."

In a news release to KOMU 8 News, investigators said, "[He] had no role in the skit other than an incidental reaction to Mr. Gessling's comments."

Thus, the board came to the conclusion that Ficken "...has done nothing that would interfere with his role as an effective superintendent of schools in Boonville."

Ficken still has not commented publicly on the incident or the board's decision, but his attorney, Albert S. Watkins, said he is happy that his client was finally vindicated.

"In essence, with the world running a muck, making statements and coming to conclusions and having national television programs and cable news networks espousing the racism in the Midwest and the simple-mindedness of those involved and in the heartland of America. The only organization that chose to do things in a civilized and appropriate fashion that is consistent with the American way of acknowledging that a man is innocent until proven guilty was the Boonville School District," Watkins said.

Watkins said now that the investigation is over Ficken can continue to give his full attention to his job as superintendent.

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