BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A parent of a former Fort Madison school district student is asking for the removal of an administrator who allegedly left a bruise on his daughter’s arm because she didn’t say “Good Morning” to him.
The incident occurred in September, and according to Brian Wright, his child was left with bruising after the school official grabbed his daughter by the arm on the way into school in the morning.
“It’s an every day thing,” Wright said. “You come in and say Good Morning to the school staff and they say Good Morning to you. She didn’t say good morning, and he singled her out and grabbed her by the arm. She then said…’uh..Good Morning?’, then was let go.”
Wright said when his daughter brought the incident to the parents’ attention, they notified the school district the following day.
Wright said several formal and informal meetings ensued, and at one point Wright asked for video footage of that day’s entry and was told the video was not available due to recycling of the video feeds every two weeks.
Wright said if he informed the school of the incident the next day, he doesn’t understand why video wasn’t pulled by the school to help with remediating the case.
“We asked them to view the footage and see that he grabbed her. They said it recycles every two weeks and apparently the video wasn’t there. I would think it would recycle, but we brought it to their attention when we complained about the incident the next day. If they knew that complaint was there, they should have gone to the video to see the case. If a complaint is there about an administrator grabbing a student, isn’t that the first thing they should have done?”
Wright said he’s consulted with Keokuk attorney Curtis Dial, but has not retained his services yet.
He also said during meetings with Superintendent Erin Slater and the administrator, the administrator admitted to remembering telling the student she didn’t say good morning, but didn’t remember any physical contact.
When contacted Tuesday afternoon for comment, Slater said she wasn’t able to comment on the incident because the district can’t comment on personnel issues.
Wright also contends that the administrator brought his student into the office without any other adults and asked her, “If everything was ok”.
“She said she was fine, but she just wanted to get out of there. She was scared,” he said. “You would think they would bring in a parent. There was no one else in there except her and (the administrator). And, unless this is a routine thing, he should remember. Thankfully my child took a picture of the bruise that day. She showed it to her mom and me and we immediately moved forward with it.”
Wright said about four weeks ago he went to the district’s resource officer and indicated he wanted to press charges. At that point the officer told Wright he hadn’t been asked to conduct an investigation, but would start depositions.
“We weren’t going to let this go.”
Wright said Lee County Attorney Ross Braden said there isn’t enough evidence for a criminal charge because there is no video evidence. Wright said he is considering a civil suit against the school district.
“Procedurally it was not handled properly by the district. They brought her in by herself and she felt intimidated by it. Every other incident an SRO is usually brought in. You would think the SRO would be brought in. I fault the school in general for not doing more. The truth will come out and we know what the truth is. We know our daughter was assaulted.”