It was for the children.
The man accused of pepper spraying Confederate veteran re-enactors in Newton last week is a retired Burke County Schools principal who still works for the system.
Newton Police charged Karl Philip Smith, 56, of Morganton, with two counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of “failure to disclose to any law enforcement officer that the person holds a valid permit and is carrying a concealed handgun when approached or addressed by the officer.” He is free pending an Oct. 11 court appearance.
Smith was a principal at two schools – first at East Burke High School and most recently at W.A. Young Elementary School – before he retired on June 30, schools spokeswoman Cheryl Shuffler told the Observer.
He was reassigned to the bus garage after he retired as a principal and plans to retire from the school system on Aug. 31, Shuffler said.
Smith earns $6,897 a month as a transportation worker and was suspended with pay on Monday pending further investigation, the Burke County Schools said Tuesday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Observer.