Documents released by Knox County Schools officials are shedding more light on why the principal and assistant principal at L&N STEM Academy were placed on administrative leave in December.
According to documents principal Becky Ashe and assistant principal Tim Childers were placed on paid administrative leave for “failing to perform the essential duties and responsibilities and duties assigned” from their respective positions.
Ashe and Childers didn’t follow state law and Knox County Schools’ policy when they dealt with an alleged criminal act reported to them by a student, according to district documents. The documents don’t indicate what the criminal act was.
The documents go on to reveal that Ashe thought the student was reporting “physical student bullying,” but later learned that the act was criminal. In addition, Ashe didn’t make a required report to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services in a “timely manner” and delayed or interfered with a criminal investigation.
“Your actions were inappropriate, serious in nature and unprofessional,” said a written reprimand sent to Ashe. “The action you took did not adhere to the KCS policies and procedures or the annual KCS Human Resources training for principals and supervisors about proper reporting to DCS and what to do and not to do when dealing with criminal investigations.”
Ashe was penalized three days of pay and allowed to return to work on March 26.
Childers also received a written reprimand from the district for failing to report the alleged act to the proper authorities. In a meeting with KCS officials, the report said Childers told them he wasn’t investigating, but “verifying the student’s allegations.”
The reprimand goes on to say Childers also failed to make a timely report to DCS and interfered with a criminal investigation. Childers also continued to investigate the incident after being told to stop by local and KCS law enforcement.
Childers was also docked three days pay and reassigned to Fulton High School as an assistant principal. He returned to work on March 29.