INDIANAPOLIS- There was a crowded lunchroom at Edison School of the Arts on Tuesday night as the school’s board voted 4 in favor and 2 abstaining to remove Executive Director and CEO Nathan Tuttle from his position.
“Ecstatic. It is just overwhelming,” Makisha Smith, a parent of two, said. “I am just happy so are the kids, parents and staff.”
The board said Tuttle was placed on administrative leave for repeating a racial slur while disciplining a student for saying the same word.
“Under Tuttle’s leadership, a significant divide has developed amongst students, parents, faculty and the staff of the school,” said Board Member Ernest Disney-Britton.
“I think the board took a great step in the right direction tonight but that is not where the focus needs to be,” said mother of three Kori Durham.
In contrast, there was an emotional response when the board eliminated the position of Executive Director and CEO, rather opting to create the position of building administrator with similar responsibilities.
The board assigned that role to the current Elementary School Principal, Amy Berns.
IPS released a statement saying, in part:
“We believe Edison’s board has responded to the feedback and concerns from staff and families and has taken the appropriate and necessary steps to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for its students, staff, and families.”Indianapolis Public Schools
The school also voted to conduct a comprehensive review of all policies and procedures regarding the use of racially inappropriate and offensive language. Board members also said they are going to provide parents with more resources as well.
“We are going to call on candidates for what we are calling the Edison Empowers Parent Committee,” Board Member Greg Wallis said. “We have heard loud and strong how parents need a voice.”
The board also voted for monthly reports from the Building Administrator, parents, students and staff.
“I think the changes that needed to be made have been made,” Smith said. “I am happy with that. I do not have any complaints.”
Originally the school was going to expand to another K-8 location at James Whitcomb Riley school. However, the board unanimously voted against that on Tuesday, saying they want to put all their resources into the existing school.