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Indianapolis school administrator on leave after being accused of using racial slur in front of students

Edison School.PNG
Posted at 5:50 PM, Mar 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-13 11:44:20-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A school administrator is on leave after being accused of saying a racial slur in front of students.

The executive director of Edison School for the Arts, who is not facing any criminal charges, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. WRTV is not naming the executive director at this time.

Marketa Lewis and Makisha Smith say their sons were in the hallway when the administrator used the racial slur.

"We shouldn't have to have this conversation," Lewis said. "Anyone that is an adult and grown, they know. No one should have to have this conversation in 2023."

The moms tell WRTV one of the boys said the n-word first, then say the administrator repeated it, while explaining why they couldn't say it.

"He [her son] called me from school and told me that I needed to get to the school," Smith said.

Smith says that when the administrator said the word students got furious.

Both moms say their kids and the other students present were taken to the office. Smith says the director said the word again.

"He also told the boys 'I have a black son so I can say that'," Lewis said.

"Trying to get them to calm down because he heard that a riot was about to happen within the school," Smith said.

Smith said she went to the school and sat in the office with the kids.

"It is very angering, it is very upsetting, it's very concerning, it's very disgusting what happened," Smith said.

Lewis said the issue is bigger than the word that was said.

"This is not just him repeating the word, as he would call it. But it's a major character flaw," she said.

Several parents, teachers, and students attend a meeting earlier this week to address the issues.

"He wanted to send this boy to in school suspension for saying this word, yet he says it several time but doesn't want to accept the responsibility and doesn't want to take accountability for the consequences that should come to him for saying the word, the same word," Smith said.

The director has been placed on administrative leave.

WRTV did reach out to him and offered him the opportunity to share his side of the story, but he declined to comment, saying he had nothing to say at this time.

The board of directors for the school released a statement saying they are aware of the alleged incident, that they take these allegations seriously and placed the director on administrative leave, pending investigation.

The Board of Directors of Edison School of the Arts became aware on March 2nd of an allegation regarding inappropriate language used by the school’s executive director. The Board takes these allegations seriously and placed the executive director on administrative leave, pending investigation. We have engaged in conversations with our staff, students and families about this incident and have made support available to students and staff at the school.
Edison Board of Directors

"We have to stand behind our kids, we have to make sure that our kids are protected, and that when we send them to school that they are safe and they feel safe. Not that they feel attacked, like they will be belittled," Smith said.

Edison School of the Arts is an IPS school, they released a statement:

As an IPS Innovation partner, the district takes the allegations against the CEO and executive director at Edison School of the Arts seriously. We are listening to members of the community and are following district policies in working with Edison School of the Arts’ Board of Directors and the school’s leadership team. 

At IPS, we continue to have the highest of standards and are committed to ensuring all students have a safe, equitable learning environment.
Indiana Public Schools

Parents were also sent the following letter from the school regarding the incident: