A charter school in Seminole County, which has received an A rating and is highly popular, is experiencing turmoil due to the possible departure of the school’s principal. Many parents are blaming the board members for unfairly pushing out the well-liked principal, and there is a sense of fear and anger among the school community. The governing board, which is not elected, has come under fire for making decisions that do not prioritize educational needs.
The conflict began in November 2020, after a board member was denied permission to deliver a tiara and a stuffed animal to his children during school hours, violating the school’s policy. This led to a series of incidents, including the board member requesting footage from the school’s security cameras to monitor the principal’s activities and an orchestrated meeting where former employees spoke critically of the principal.
At a board meeting, the principal resigned, with some board members voting to accept her resignation, while others praised her work. Many parents have signed an online petition to stop the “forced resignation” of the principal, and some have attended board meetings to express their support for her. The principal filed a formal complaint against the board members, accusing them of bullying and harassment.
The board’s previous attorney conducted an investigation into the matter, and the board has since hired a new attorney. The investigation concluded that the board members’ actions did not meet the legal definition of bullying and harassment, but the board member’s actions could lead a reasonable person to believe that there was specific intent against the principal.
The lack of checks and balances within the board, and the fact that it is not elected, has frustrated many parents who feel they have no say in what is happening at the school. The school is in the last year of its 15-year charter, so it will need to seek renewal next year.