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Posted: 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kelly Marlow resigns Cherokee school board seat. Faces sentencing Thursday. 

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Cherokee school board member found guilty of lying to police
Channel 2 Action News
Kelly Marlow in court Saturday night, April 26 2014.

By Maureen Downey

UPDATE: Sentencing is today, Thursday, at 1:30 p.m.

Cherokee County school board member Kelly Marlow resigned her seat after a jury Saturday found her guilty of the felony charge of lying to police in reporting that Superintendent Frank R. Petruzielo tried to run her down after a contentious school board meeting in June.

She is expected to be sentenced this afternoon. The conviction carries the possibility of jail time. One of the debates on an earlier blog was whether Marlow deserves jail time or whether the judge should be influenced by the fact she's the mother of school-age children.

One wrote: Sentencing will be a tough call on this sad situation....Kelley also has kids school-age.....I think many of the charges can be up to 5 years in prison..... I hope the court takes into consideration her family....and she does not do a lot of time.

But another countered: Are people who do not have children supposed to receive more stringent sentences? Is the crime any different because she has children? Ms. Marlow had many opportunities to admit her guilt and avoid prison. Please spare us the "think about the children" malarkey. She didn't think about her kids when she set a horrible example and committed a crime. She didn't think about her children when she chose to go to trial when it was obvious she did the crime. 

In a short letter to state Superintendent John Barge, Marlow says, "...recent judicial determinations make it unlikely that I can effectively serve at any time in the foreseeable future. Rather than leave my seat in limbo while the issues surrounding my status are resolved, it is with an extremely heavy heart that I resign my position with the Cherokee County School Board effective immediately.”

 Cherokee Schools sent out this note:

The Cherokee County School District was informed at 9:20 a.m. this morning that Ms. Kelly Marlow has resigned from the Cherokee County School Board.  Ms. Marlow’s resignation was made by email to State Superintendent Dr. John Barge; the Governor, School Board Members, School Board Attorney and Superintendent of Schools were copied on this correspondence.  A copy of the resignation letter is attached.  

 Local law requires that the School Board hold a special election to fill vacancies when more than half of the term remains.  More than half of Ms. Marlow’s term to represent School Board District 1 remains, as it expires on Dec. 31, 2016.

My own view on this: Cherokee voters made a bad choice electing Marlow in the first place. She had little grasp of the appropriate role of a school board member and wasted a lot of board time on inanities. Are there things that need questioning in Cherokee? Sure, but Marlow didn't focus on them.

She demonstrated a stunning lack of maturity in retaliating against Petruzielo by making up a tale he tried to run her over.  It appeared she and her two pals did not consider the seriousness of lodging a false report with police. It's hard to believe you could find three adults -- one of whom was a Cherokee County Republican Party official and another who was a political consultant -- who would not understand the consequences of such actions.

Maureen Downey

About Maureen Downey

Maureen Downey is a longtime reporter for the AJC where she has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy for 12 years.

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