Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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Colonial Forge has an interim principal

Steve Trant, who retired in June as Dixon-Smith Middle School’s principal, has been named the interim principal at Colonial Forge High School, School Board Chairwoman Patricia Healy confirmed for me today.

Trant has more than 30 years’ experience with Stafford schools, including as director of human resources.

“I think he’s certainly very well-respected in the education community,” Healy said. ”I think he’s a proven leader, and he’s a really good team leader. I think that he will be able to work with the staff there and help bring things together while we’re out recruiting for a new principal.”

Healy said she didn’t know when the division would hire a new principal to replace Karen Spillman. Spillman resigned late last month amid criticism for recommending a yearlong suspension for a student who ran onto Colonial Forge’s football field in a banana costume during half-time.

Assistant Principal Rodney Jones wrote in a referral that the student was “very disrespectful” to adults after the incident and initially refused to remove his banana costume.

The student, Bryan Thompson, received an initial 10-day suspension. He served five days before a central-office administrator lifted the punishment and put him on probation.

Some Colonial Forge students protested Thompson’s suspension by wearing “Free banana man” T-shirts to school. They were told to remove the shirts, prompting the ACLU to send Spillman a letter asking her to respect students’ First Amendment rights.

Stafford Schools Superintendent Randy Bridges apologized for the school’s actions.