Dozens rally for ousted principal as lawmakers demand reinstatementby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis, is one of seven lawmakers who have signed a letter demanding the reinstatement of a Minneapolis school principal.
St. Paul, Minn. — Burroughs Community School principal Tim Cadotte was recently placed on paid leave after an incident with school board member Chris Stewart in which allegations of racism were reportedly leveled against Cadotte.
The letter, signed by Sen. Scott Dibble, Patricia Torres Ray, and Ken Kelash -- as well as Rep. Frank Hornstein, Jeff Hayden, Paul Thissen and Speaker Kelliher, calls the quick move to place Cadotte on leave "alarming." The letter added that Cadotte "must be reinstated to his position as soon as possible."
Parent Kip Wennerlund spoke at Monday night's rally in support of Cadotte.
"Mr. Cadotte is, by any measure, an excellent principal. He's built up a great school that's now in high demand," said Wennerlund. "He belongs back behind his desk at Burroughs and he belongs back in the lunch room, scraping plates and working the recycling line."
The incident is under investigation. Neither Stewart nor the district is commenting.
Also on Monday, Superintendent Bill Green wrote an op-ed that said the district does not "condone attacks by any member of the Minneapolis Public School community against any other member of our family."
Given the stress over recent months of constructing a massive reorganization plan that calls for school closures, Green wrote that "it is not surprising that people's motives can be misunderstood, nerves are frayed, and tempers explode."
"The recent episode at Burroughs has compounded the tension in our community," wrote Green. "But we must stay focused on doing what is right for our students."
Cadotte also is not commenting on the incident, though he did say in an email to Minnesota Public Radio News that he was overwhelmed by the support he's received.
"I want my families to know I say 'Thank you."
- To read Superintendent Green's editorial, click here
- Text of email to MPR News from Tim Cadotte: "I am overwhelmed at the support I have received. Sometimes you forget that there was a day you helped a first grader zip up their coat, called home for a student that forgot their lunch or double over when a student tells you a joke you have heard a hundred times but somehow it is funny all over again. I have been reminded 10 fold. I want my families to know I say 'Thank you.'"
- Morning Edition, 04/28/2009, 6:25 a.m.