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Suspended Columbus Scioto Principal Faces Hearing On Termination

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Staff of a suspended Columbus City Schools principal presented a passionate plea for the adminstrator at Tuesday’s school board meeting. 

Alison Holm has more.

According to district officials, Columbus Scioto principal Michelle Milner violated district policy by suspending students for more than the state and federally mandated max, and masked the fact by claiming they were “unexplained absences”. She had been placed on administrative leave in December for data manipulation, and in February the board voted to suspend her and prepare for termination.

But Columbus Scioto staff like intervention specialist Angela Fuentes painted a very different picture of Milner at Tuesday’s meeting

“I’ve seen our leader do laundry, buy warm clothes, and provide above and beyond for our students and staff. She is aware of court cases, family relationships issues, homelessness, violence and hunger for her students and did whatever was in her power to help them, while maintaining a conducive learning environment…. “Doc” is expected to take the kids that no other building can handle. And do what no other administrator can accomplish.”

 

Milner has worked since 2013 at Columbus Scioto, which serves children with severe emotional and behavior challenges. The half dozen staff told board members that violence between students and against staff is frequent, and that Milner often struggled without support from the district. Officials say that there are dozens and dozens of suspensions dating back to the last school year that lacked the appropriate documentation. But teacher Amanda Jackson, a 17-year veteran of the district, say Milner excelled at detail.

 

“From 6th grade to 12th grade you could go to her and in an instant she could tell you: ‘they’re in a different environment, a different home, a different foster home’. She was always able to keep communication between home and school current, keeping staff aware of student’s needs and their mental state.”

 

The board Tuesday agreed to a private hearing requested by Milner on the move to terminate. The state superintendent will appoint a referee for the March 25th meeting, and will file a report for the district, which can choose to accept or reject the findings.