Updated Statement issued Thursday, March 11, 2021:
The teacher involved in the incident at Crystal Hill Elementary remains on administrative leave and the District has initiated the legal process under the Arkansas Teacher Fair Dismissal Act to separate the employment relationship with the District. This provides the teacher a hearing before the District Board of Directors prior to any final employment action. Since this incident remains a personnel matter, the District cannot comment any further.
It is always our best intent to put the safety and well-being of our students as a top priority. The District will work to ensure that its mission of equity and excellence is upheld by all professional staff at all times.
Updated Statement issued on Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Pulaski County Special School District understands the concern and outrage over the incident at Crystal Hill Elementary on Friday, March 5. We take concerns related to the well-being of our students very seriously. The health and safety of all of our students are always a priority. The human resources department continues to investigate the incident to ensure due process is afforded to all involved.
“When we have these events that touch our humanity and affect us deeply, they reach us, so personally, their root is institutional and systemic,” says Dr. Charles McNulty, superintendent of PCSSD. “Systemic racism, classism, sexism - they play in part of our daily lives, and sometimes these events overshadow who we are and who we need to be.”
Over the past three years, PCSSD has taken extensive steps to enhance equity and excellence across the district. Institutional frameworks like AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) and PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) are implemented in all schools. Culturally responsive teaching and restorative practices are an important part of instruction for all educators. Our professional staff continues to mirror our communities and the many cultures that thrive in our schools.
“The last decade has seen a shift in culture as it relates to hate, division, and misinformation. Social justice issues are not vanquished by how many social media likes one person receives,” Dr. McNulty, adds. “They are vanquished by dealing with each event with integrity and high expectations. The ills of our society are addressed within the district through diverse partnerships and community stakeholders.
“For those who want to take advantage of these experiences in order to create cultural power or dehumanize other individuals, that is not how justice is served. Justice is about the humanity that we bring each and every day,” McNulty adds. “We have a leadership team that looks like our community with powerful voices, speaking for all. We will do what is right for our students, but we will not forget our humanity.”
Statement issued on Tuesday, March 9, 2021:
Pulaski County Special School District aims to ensure that every student is treated with respect in all areas of the education process. Employees across the district work hard everyday to create an environment where students feel safe and protected.
District administrators are aware of an alleged situation that occurred at Crystal Hill Elementary on Friday, March 5. We are actively investigating this alleged action in the classroom. As is district policy, we cannot disclose information in regards to disciplinary personnel matters. The employee is on administrative leave pending an investigation.
PCSSD strives to implement equity and excellence in education in all areas for the betterment of students in central Arkansas.