Parents Object to Cutter Morning Star Principal's Suspension

Elementary principal placed on paid leave earlier this month

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- It was standing room only Monday night as concerned parents packed out Cutter Morning Star's school board meeting in Hot Springs. 

The administration placed Cutter Morning Star elementary principal Jann Gibson on paid leave earlier this month, as well as an elementary school teacher. The circumstances surrounding the suspensions are still unclear. 

"I just want to make sure that she has a voice to let the board know we back her up," said Johnny Partridge, one of more than a dozen parents donning "Stand with Jann" shirts at the meeting. "The superintendent has pretty much just been hush-hush."

Superintendent Dr. Nancy Anderson deferred our questions regarding the suspensions to an attorney, who denied a request for comment due to this being a "personnel matter." However, the attorney was able to confirm there is an active DHS investigation connected to the suspensions. 

While the administration remains tight-lipped, the rumor among parents is that the suspensions are related to allegations of a spanking incident. Partridge, father of a kindergartner, believes the accusations are unfounded. 

"Miss Jann has done an outstanding job," he said. "The kids miss her, the parents miss her." 

The concerned parents were not welcome to speak at Monday's meeting but their presence alone made their voices heard. 

"The message we really want to get across is that we are here to support her," Partridge said, "But also we are here because we would like to see the board show transparency."

The attorney speaking on behalf of the district said he expects the DHS investigation to wrap up soon. He added the superintendent could make a recommendation about Gibson's employment by the end of this week. 

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