Principal disciplined

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Principal placed 

on disciplinary leave

By Ted Pennekamp

 

Bluff View Intermediate School Principal Aaron Amundson has been placed on unpaid disciplinary leave for five days (Jan. 7-13) for using inappropriate language while addressing a group of students who were getting ready for a merit party on Dec. 23, 2014. Amundson will have no contact with any students or be on school grounds during the leave.

Shortly after the Dec. 23 incident, two complaints were filed by parents with the school district stating that Amundson called some students idiots and also used the word “kill” while addressing students in anger because they weren’t listening to his instructions. 

In a letter by Prairie du Chien District Administrator Drew Johnson, who conducted an investigation into the matter, Johnson said Amundson told him he didn’t remember saying the word “kill” but that a parent and a police officer told him he said, “If I have to explain myself one more time, I might have to kill somebody.” Amundson also told Johnson he remembered saying to a group of a few boys, “You idiots get over here,” because the boys were sitting in a different section of bleachers from where they had been told to sit.

In his letter, Johnson stated, “It is evident to me that Mr. Amundson did use the highly unacceptable language brought forth by the complaints of the parents. However, after interviewing Mr. Amundson, I am equally convinced that he did so out of frustration and agitation and that there was never any intent by Mr. Amundson to harm the students or put student safety at any risk. Regardless, Mr. Amundson’s statements expressly violate the standards and expectations established by the district. In addition, such statements are legitimately very upsetting to parents (and students), especially against the backdrop of current events.”

Johnson also said that if Amundson engages in any inappropriate verbal communication with students, parents, citizens or employees in the future, it may result in Johnson recommending to the school board that Amundson’s contract either be terminated or non-renewed.

In a second letter released by Johnson and written by Amundson, Amundson said he used unprofessional language that has caused anxiety in some children and parents. He also said he would like to apologize to the students and their parents.

“To those who are upset, I am disappointed with the words I used to address the students on Dec. 23, 2014. I made a mistake, and for that I sincerely apologize,” said Amundson in part of his letter. 

Various petitions have been circulating in the Prairie du Chien School District since the parental complaints were filed. One petition is asking for Amundson’s resignation or termination. Another petition is a show of support for Amundson. Each petition has hundreds of signatures. Exact figures are unknown because they are constantly changing.

Amundson said that he stands firmly with a foot in each camp, one for those who support him and another for those who don’t. 

“I do not ask for forgiveness from one group, nor do I ask for pity from the other group as I agree 100 percent with the disciplinary measures,” Amundson said. “I only ask that you expect me to meet your expectations of me as a professional. I will be working my tail off to improve this district just as I have for the past 17 and one half years prior to this. Perhaps it is fate that this happens at the start of the new year as I now have a resolution that I need to work toward.”

There will be a closed session during the regularly scheduled school board meeting Monday night to review the discipline process and results.

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