Starks principal retires amid controversy - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Starks principal retires amid controversy

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(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC) (Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
STARKS, LA (KPLC) -

The principal at the center of controversy at Starks High School will retire.

Vickie Poole's announcement comes as concerned parents are still demanding answers.

A large group of parents met about a month ago with a laundry list of concerns from bullying to inappropriate behavior between school employees and students, and just the fact that they say they can't get answers.

The group met again Thursday night, and while they say they harbor no ill-feelings towards the principal, they want to see changes.

Poole announced her plans to retire to Calcasieu Parish School Board officials earlier this week.

The announcement comes amid controversy, namely concerns from a group of parents, in relation to the school's administration.

"A lot of things were reported to the administration that didn't go any farther than the administration," said Tony O'Banion, one of the concerned parents.

The group was denied an opportunity to share those concerns at last month's school board meeting and was told to follow protocol. This time they did, filing a letter with the school board, but again, they were denied.

However, they weren't ignored. Superintendent Wayne Savoy responded with a letter saying "While I decline to place your requested items on the school board's May 6 agenda, rest assured I take seriously the issues noted... and I shall continue to gather information about these issues."

While it's not the response they had hoped for, Savoy also says the groups "comments are substantially about the school's ‘current administrator' and I have chosen to personally conduct the investigation."

"There has been an investigation opened by the school board and they have investigated quite a bit and I know they made some progress," added O'Banion.

And although the group's concerns are many, O'Banion says they're hopeful their voices are being heard.

"He does expect some more action. That was his comment," said O'Banion, speaking about his conversation with Savoy.

However, the public may never know the full results of the Superintendent's investigation, due to state and federal laws.

For instance, a complaint of improper activity of a school employee is part of the employee's personnel file, as is action taken with regard to that complaint - neither are public record without written consent of that employee or when ordered by a court or subpoena.

In regards to the principal, Kirby Smith, Public Information Officer for the CPSB said the district began advertising for a temporary replacement on May 1, which is standard practice for replacing a retiring principal.

Backstory here: http://www.kplctv.com/story/25209082/concerns-in-stark?autostart=true

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