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IPS announces task force after video shows teacher recording attack on student

Posted at 11:29 AM, Apr 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-24 18:04:39-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools responded in a video message following outrage of an incident at George Washington Carver Montessori School 87.

Recently, a video of a 7-year-old student being attacked by another student surfaced.

His mother says her son has special needs, and repeatedly expressed concerns over abuse in the classroom.

The boy's parents have filed a lawsuit against IPS, the former teacher and others.

In light of this, IPS also created a task force focused on safety.

Indianapolis Public Schools said the entire IPS community is shocked and upset by the video of the former teacher at School 87. It said it must work together to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

"It is an encouraging first step. But it is not enough," said George Washington Carver Montessori School 87 parent, Kelly Mosesso.

Mosesso wants parents and teachers to be involved with the changes being implemented at the school.

"One of my questions is they already have an IPS police force that's supposed to be in charge of student safety, right? What is this task force going to be doing that this IPS force couldn't do," she questioned.

The Board of Commissioners plan to report details surrounding how it's moving forward in 30 days.

Along with the task force, IPS said it is bringing in outside partners to interview families and staff at School 87.

"We will further clarify our guidance for all staff, teachers and students regarding follow-up communication in schools, which is a place we fell short in this instance and have regrettably caused families to question their trust in us," said IPS Dr. Superintendent Aleesia Johnson.

Attorneys said the teacher filmed the fight, and accidentally showed the video to the boy's mother during a parent-teacher meeting.

IPS said the teacher resigned in November.

IMPD is now investigating the case.

"It's a disturbing video. Hopefully we find answers and hold accountable those who need to be held accountable," said IMPD Chief Chris Bailey.

"This is another aspect that just shows the failure of the administration because without that teacher inadvertently showing that horrible video to that kids parents, I truly believe that he would still be in that classroom. He is gone because of his own stupidity, which is horrifying," said Mosseso.

Mosseso said trust is broken. Her main concern is the children in the classroom.

"And we want mental health services for those kids right now, not 'We are going to look into it,' not a task force. We want it now, like this week," she said.

"We take our kid's safety very seriously. We will continue to examine and strengthen our practices to act more effectively and keep you updated," said Dr. Johnson.

IPS is holding an action session at Arsenal Tech Thursday at 6 p.m.

Mosesso says School 87 is a choice school, meaning parents choose to send their kids there through a lottery.

More than 800 parents and community members have signed a petition for a change in administration.

IPS said the principal and assistant principal will not be at the school during this investigation.

At an agenda-setting meeting Tuesday night, the Indianapolis Public Schools Board of Commissioners announced they will form a task force focused on student safety. They released the following letter:

Like the entire IPS community, we are shocked and upset by the video of the former teacher at School 87. This behavior is alarming, and hard for anyone to watch — but we know it’s especially close to home for the parents and caregivers of IPS students, which includes four of us on this Board. Every Indianapolis family should be able to send their children to school with full confidence that caring adults are looking out for their wellbeing.

To the many voices in our community that have weighed in, I want to express my gratitude. Our community’s voices are critically important. They have driven crucial conversations with the IPS team, as we work together with Dr. Johnson on solutions and next steps. We will continue to focus on understanding and action over the coming days and weeks, and ask the community to know this: you’ve been heard, your voices are valued, and ensuring our children’s safety is all of our most important job as adults.

As Superintendent Dr. Johnson said, we must work together to prevent something like this from ever happening again. Dr. Johnson has already announced important district actions — IPS is reviewing protocols around how principals communicate with families and bringing on an external partner to interview families and staff at School 87. As a Board, we will be creating a new task force focused on student safety. We will share more with you on this as the work progresses. We want our kids to be safe wherever they are, and that means having discussions about the violence in our communities, including the impacts of everything from bullying to gun violence.

This work will require collective action from us as board members and from district administrators, school leaders, and IPS staff — and YOU, the people who chose us to serve. In the coming days, weeks, and months ahead, we will be working hand-in-hand with Dr. Johnson and members of the community to understand what changes must happen. We are grateful for your input and your patience and grace in this process — our promise is to report back on this work in 30 days and continue to share ways you can get involved
IPS Board of Commissioners

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Dr. Johnson released the following video addressing the community following the incident at School 87:

IPS Supt. Update