Principal Leslie Charlemagne called her staff "retarded" and "lazy." She said it in an email to another Columbus school-district employee in which Charlemagne, the Como Elementary principal, asked for step-by-step directions for online training that her staff needed to complete. But then - oops! - Charlemagne accidentally forwarded those directions, along with the entire email exchange in which she disparaged her teachers, to the Como teachers.
Principal Leslie Charlemagne called her staff “retarded” and “lazy.”
She said it in an email to another Columbus school-district employee in which Charlemagne, the Como Elementary principal, asked for step-by-step directions for online training that her staff needed to complete. But then — oops! — Charlemagne accidentally forwarded those directions, along with the entire email exchange in which she disparaged her teachers, to the Como teachers.
She tried to take it back by immediately sending out a “DELETE THIS — WRONG DIRECTIONS” message. But it was too late. They saw it.
“Is there (or was there sent at one time) a step by step for our staff to finish this.....mine are retarded I think....and lazy,” she had written.
This all happened on Dec. 16.
She apparently said “sorry” to each staff member. A couple of days later, Charlemagne wrote them a formal apology letter for the “inappropriate and hurtful comments” she had made. She wrote that there was no excuse for the language she used, then went on to talk about how much pressure she is under and how frustrated she is about all the new things educators must do.
Some teachers were on her side. They wrote a letter in support of her. She’s human, after all. She made a mistake. They worried that some other teachers at Como who weren’t as supportive of Charlemagne’s leadership would see this flub as “an opportunity for revenge.” The staff is divided, they said, but the school has bigger problems — such as its poor academic showing — than Charlemagne calling the staff “retarded.”
The district put a letter of reprimand in her personnel file on Dec. 23. Any similar behavior, it says, could lead to more discipline or even firing.
One other thing: In addition to being an elementary-school principal, Charlemagne is a former special-education teacher.
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The deadline for state investigators to hand over a draft report that details student-data fraud in Columbus City Schools has come and gone. And a spokeswoman for state auditor Dave Yost confirmed recently that auditors did, in fact, meet the first-week-of-December deadline. Yost has a draft.
“It’s in the final stages,” the spokeswoman said.
It would be customary for a team from the auditor’s office to schedule a meeting with the target before an audit or special investigation is released, but no such meeting has been scheduled yet, according to school-district officials.
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Central Ohio parents could be forgiven for grumbling this week when they learned that for a second straight day, districts were canceling classes because of frigid weather.
But the districts’ Facebook pages were full of praise.
“Glad to hear they are being proactive so parents can make arrangements early,” wrote a commenter about Columbus schools.
“I respect you doing it ahead of time!” read a comment on the Hilliard schools’ page.
Most districts had announced by early Monday afternoon that schools would be closed yesterday.
Jeff Warner, a spokesman for Columbus schools, said that the district realizes that parents appreciate early notice, and it tries to provide that when possible. That’s easier with subzero temperatures, though, than with a forecast of 3 inches of snow.
The early notice “isn’t something they can expect with every weather issue,” he said.
Dispatch Reporter Jeb Phillips contributed to this report.