Church leader has questions about status of staffers at KCPS school under investigation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As many people are gearing up for summer, some church leaders in Kansas City have questions about the Southwest Early College Campus. Kansas City Public Schools put principal Dr. Edwin Richardson and five other staff members on administrative leave in April after a student told police another student raped her at school several times during March and April.

Now, people in the community want to know where the investigation stands and what will happen to the school’s leader. Board members will listen to public comments during Wednesday’s school board meeting.

Reverend John Spicer heads St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, just down the block from the school. He says his passion is for the students.

“It’s easy for them to get left behind in the midst of the politics of institutions and to become forgotten, and to be written off. We can’t do that,” he said.

The school and church share a city block. Rev. Spicer knows Richardson well and says he’s worked hard to improve the school.

“All that good work is now being shunted inside and instead, it seems to me, he’s being made a scapegoat,” he said.

That’s because the KCPS administration put Richardson and five other staff members on leave after a 14-year-old girl told police she was raped repeatedly at school by another student, during March and April.

"I understand the rationale that the building principal is the captain of the ship so to speak. I also believe that when that captain has requested supplies and personnel and changes to the structure of the ship from the people in charge, and those requests go unheeded, that it ceases to be the principal’s problem anymore, or responsibility,” Rev. Spicer said

KCPS Superintendent R. Stephen Green, Ed.D. said the investigation is in other agency's hands and they're waiting for the investigative process to play out.

“The children’s division is really leading this, and we’re following. Oh yeah, we’ll make sure that something permanent’s in place. We’ll deliberate and evaluate and make our decision as we go, but we don’t want to get ahead of the process. We will wait until we get the full, complete spread of information, and make the best decision on behalf of the school, the students in the school, and the community at large,” he said.

Rev. Spicer believes the period of waiting will only add to the victim’s pain.

“Every week that it extends complicates her healing as well as that of the rest of the people involved,” he said.

When FOX 4 spoke with Dr. Green back in April about this case, he told us it happened because of a “personnel breakdown.” He wouldn’t give any more information because the case is under investigation. He expects a decision will be made on the staff members' employment by the beginning of the school year.

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2 comments

  • emma

    I wish they would leave us alone. Taking our principle and teachers away helps nothing and dragging out the investigation solves nothing. We NEED them back. The school bored doesn’t go to school with us everyday. They don’t know what is going on, they just think they do. Southwest will be just fine when we get our Dr. Richardson and our other teachers and the middle schoolers leave. So many students are willing to leave, with full support of parents, if Dr. Richardson does not come back and to tell the truth, if it wasn’t my senior year, I would leave too. No one cared more about the students and staff like he did.