An area superintendent has been cleared of any wrong-doing related to a rodeo stunt at the Missouri State Fair in early August. The Boonville Board of Education released the findings of an investigative report into the actions of Mark Ficken during a meeting on Tuesday. The report found that Ficken was not involved in the controversial performance of an Obama-masked clown.
Earlier this week, a man who provided commentary while the masked-clown paraded around the arena told numerous media outlets that he has been receiving death threats. Tuffy Gessling believes people are taking the stunt way too seriously. Gessling said the presidential clown bit has been around for generations, featuring masks of George Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. Gessling has been banned from the State Fair for life.
Ficken’s legal counsel, Albert Watkins, said in a prepared statement that “it appears those who tried to characterize the Heartland of America as a cistern for systemic racism overlooked one thing… the truth.” Watkins has been critical of media reports that initially attributed comments made during the August 10th rodeo performance to Ficken.
The Booneville R-I School District Board of Education members met in executive session Tuesday night and released a statement Wednesday on the findings of the investigation, saying they are “confident in Dr. Ficken’s leadership,” the statement goes on to say that under Ficken’s leadership the district will continue providing the best educational opportunities for its students.
Press Release from the Office of Albert Watkins
The Boonville, Missouri School District last night released its investigative findings into the role of its superintendent, Dr. Mark Ficken, in the August 10, 2013 Obama rodeo incident at the Missouri State Fair. The finding cleared Dr. Ficken of any wrong-doing, inappropriate actions or statements. The findings and the report gave rise to the Board’s unanimous support of Dr. Ficken.
The investigative report was prepared by Jim Ritter, a retired Columbia, Missouri Public Schools Superintendent and Rick Williams, a retired navy Judge Advocate and former Missouri Attorney General.
“My client is proud to be associated with a school district where the reputation of a man is held in high enough esteem to warrant a complete investigation before taking draconian action based on erroneous media reports,” said Albert S. Watkins, legal counsel for the Boonville School District Superintendent, Dr. Mark Ficken, to whom initial world-wide news reports incorrectly attributed the inappropriate comments and actions of a third-party rodeo clown.
“It appears those who tried to characterize the Heartland of America as a cistern for systemic racism overlooked one thing…the truth,” concluded Watkins.