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Bunnell Elementary principal, one other teacher on leave after contentious assembly


Two staff members at Bunnell Elementary School have been put on administrative leave after they held an assembly singling out Black students and blaming them for the school’s poor test performance.

That's despite some of the students having passed the test.

Both Principal Donnelle Evensen and another teacher have been put on administrative leave after parents and community members spoke out about the assembly.

Only African American students were pulled from class for the assembly, where they were told their performance on state standardized tests needed to improve.

Interim Flagler Superintendent Lashakia Moore says she’s waiting on a report from the Office of Professional Standards before she determines next steps.

She’s already started meeting with families who were impacted.

“I've spoken with a lot of different families, some who have wanted counseling, some who want to know about tutoring that is available to them, some wanting to know how they can be a volunteer and mentor," said Moore.

Moore said some families have even asked for a transfer to another school in the district.

“We have open choice here in Flagler County and so those families that want that, we will help to assist that," said Moore. "The majority of the families that I've spoken to, they have been long time people at Bunnell Elementary School, and they know the heart of the educators there. And those families are not wanting to just make that decision."

Moore says moving forward, parents will be required to sign a permission slip before their child is sent to an assembly.

She says after the Office of Professional Standards publishes their report on the incident, a committee will review it and make recommendations. Then Moore will decide if further disciplinary actions need to be taken.

At this time, she says it's unclear why the assembly was held.

On Wednesday, Moore apologized to parents for the assembly, saying there was no malice intended but the assembly didn't fit with the district's values, especially when it came to not segregating students.

Bunnell Elementary School received a C on the last statewide report card released from the Florida Department of Education.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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