Parents upset Southern Boone School District delayed letter on drug case

11 months 2 days 20 hours ago Wednesday, September 13 2017 Sep 13, 2017 Wednesday, September 13, 2017 2:14:00 PM CDT September 13, 2017 in News
By: Carolina Brigagao, KOMU 8 Reporter
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ASHLAND - "Everybody I talked to has the same question, 'Why did they take so long to tell us?'," one Southern Boone parent said after finding out a school employee was fired because of drugs.

The parent, who asked to remain anonymous, was referring to a email sent to district parents by the Southern Boone School district on Tuesday afternoon.

The email explained that in May, the school district "was notified by the Boone County Sheriff's Department that one of the District's employees was being investigated based on a claim of misconduct regarding illegal drugs."

Christopher Felmlee, Superintendent of the Souther Boone School District, wrote the email.

"The high school administration and I took immediate and substantial steps in response, removing the employee from District property and preventing future access to our schools, students and records," Felmlee said in the email.

The parent said they have talked to other district parents and there are questions about why the district waited three months to release the information.

"That email would have never been sent if it hadn't been for a reporter saying, 'Hey, I am going to publish this story,'" the parent said. "So, what this gives the impression of is that the administration has something to hide. This wasn't something they were trying to keep quiet for privacy. It looks like they were trying to cover the fact that their ineptitude failed to deal with the situation until it gotten really out of control."

During a phone interview, Felmlee said the information was held so as to not interfere with the Boone County Sheriff's Department investigation.

"At the time I was advised that the sooner the people under investigation return to their routines, the better it would be for the law enforcement agency that were involved in the investigation," he said.

Felmlee said he won't "tolerate drugs in my school" and would do everything needed to help law enforcement "get this out of my school district."

"So, no, I don't have any regrets withholding that," Felmlee said. 

The district said the former employee is still under investigation by the Boone County Sheriff's Department. 

The parent KOMU 8 talked to is still concerned.

"What we are left with now, as parents of students in the district, is the impression that we can't trust this administration. Because if they are going to withhold this level of information, how can we feel comfortable sending our children to school knowing that they are going to take care of your kids," the parent said. 

KOMU 8 has attempted to reach the sheriff's department by email and phone for comments and an update on the case, but have not heard back.

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