South Lane School Chair issues statement

© 2018-Cottage Grove Sentinel

South Lane School Board Chair Alan Baas issued a statement Monday evening regarding an anonymous letter received by the board and reportedly attributed to superintendent Krista Parent. 

"... the South Lane School District Board of Directors wants to assure you that we are working to address the matter. We have been in touch with the Oregon School Board Association and are following the advice of legal counsel. We take this issue very seriously and will work in the best interest of the district," the statement reads in part. 

Earlier this week, 110 South Lane Education Association (SLEA) employees sent a letter to the school board requesting that Parent by placed on administrative leave until an independent investigation into the accusations against Parent could be completed.

In the spring of 2017 the school district funded a week-long investigation into reports of a personal relationship between Parent and a school district employee. In August an anonymous, handwritten letter on the subject was given to each board member citing Parent's standing in the community and suggested a resident engaged in "libel" and slander" against the superintendent. 

A handwriting analysis funded by a resident determined that it was probable Parent wrote the letter.

“SLEA takes the allegation of the anonymous letter given to the school board in August very seriously,” the SLEA statement read. “The letter slanders and harasses a school district employee, and if it is indeed from our superintendent, then this would become a very serious legal matter.”

Diane Hicks signed the letter in her capacity as SLEA President but is not the author of the document.

According to Hicks, the letter was written by a group of individuals and placed on a web-based survey platform Survey Monkey, available to all 153 SLEA members. 115 responses were recorded with 110 in favor of sending the letter to the school board. 

The issue was not discussed at the Jan. 8 school board meeting other than to note the board may schedule an executive session in the near future. 

“Our priority” Baas wrote in his statement, “has been, and will continue to be, the students and staff of South Lane School District.”

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