MPPS Board of Education Statement from Friday, July 2, 2021
At Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, we strive each day to ensure our students can learn and achieve in an inclusive, safe environment free from harassment, discrimination, bigotry or intolerance.
As your Board of Education, we are committed to ensuring our schools are safe and welcoming for all our students.
We truly appreciate the support and patience by our students, staff and families while an independent, third-party investigation was conducted regarding an incident at Ganiard ElementarySchool.
As your Board, we have made every effort to address this matter with the seriousness and care it deserves and with the transparency our community expects.
The third-party independent investigation included interviews with and feedback from district personnel, students, families as well as a review of video and photographic evidence including social media posts.
In the spirit of transparency, we are presenting the key findings from this investigation and resulting discipline as recommended by Superintendent Jennifer Verleger with support from the school board.
The key findings of the third–party investigation are:
The third-party investigation is in addition to a thorough internal review conducted by district administration, including conducting interviews, reviewing videotaped and photographic evidence, consistent with the laws and district policies and procedures.
The key takeaways in both reviews are consistent.
As a result of the district’s investigation, the employee who cut the student’s hair will be placed on a “last chance” agreement during which time any future violations will likely result in termination.
We believe a last chance agreement is appropriate given that the employee has an outstanding record of conduct and has never once been reprimanded in more than 20 years of work at MPPS.
In addition, Superintendent Verleger has recommended and theBoard has accepted written reprimands for two additional MPPS employees who were aware of the incident but did not alert the student’s parents or the Administration.
These written reprimands will go into the employees’ respective files.
As a result of the incident and the third-party investigation, ourschool policies have been clarified to help ensure incidents like this do not happen again.
Professional development will also be a key part of learning from this experience and improving as a district.
It’s clear from the third-party investigation and the district’s own internal investigation that MPPS employees had good intentions when performing the haircut.
Regardless, their decisions and actions are unacceptable and show a major lack of judgement.
The employees involved have acknowledged their wrong actions and apologized. Superintendent Verleger has also personally apologized to the family on behalf of the school district.
Our main purpose with the independent investigation has been to bring the facts to light, learn from this incident and make our district even stronger.
To achieve our mission of providing a world-class education to all MPPS students, we must continuously strive to improve and acknowledge when we have not lived up to our own high standards.
With the investigation concluded, we can now move forward together as one MPPS family and community dedicated to helping all students achieve and succeed.