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West Metro Education Program Superintendent On Leave, Principal Suspended

The program has FAIR schools in Crystal and Minneapolis and includes students from the following districts: Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Richfield, Robbinsdale, St. Anthony/New Brighton, St. Louis Park, Columbia Heights and Wayzata.

The superintendent of a program that includes students from 11 Twin Cities districts is on paid leave, according to a Star Tribune story. In addition, the program's principal was suspended for two days.

The West Metro Education Program (WMEP)'s Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Resource (FAIR) schools in Crystal and Minneapolis are "designed for a diverse student population," according to the Minneapolis Public Schools website. 

Students attend the FAIR schools from the following districts: Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Richfield, Robbinsdale, St. Anthony/New Brighton, St. Louis Park and Wayzata, according to the FAIR School website.

FAIR Principal Kevin Bennett recently was suspended "for infractions in three areas," the Star Tribune story said. They include:

  • Not reporting an altercation at the Minneapolis school
  • Attending a conference with a fellow employee and "conduct unbecoming a principal"
  • Asking employees out for dinner and drinks, which could be viewed as harassment

The infractions are described in more detail in the Star Tribune story.

Bennett was named middle school principal of the year in January 2012.

The Star Tribune's article on Wednesday did not say why Superintendent Dan Jett is on paid leave. There is a temporary superintendent in place.

The WMEP district "was formed in 1989 as a way to provide opportunities for Minneapolis minority students to attend the Crystal school while drawing white suburbanites to the downtown school," according to the story.

However, program board member Carla Bates told the Star Tribune, "The Crystal school’s arts-focused program drew many white, middle-class students from Minneapolis and the downtown school drew many low-income minority students from suburbs, reinforcing metro segregation."

The board is trying to address those issues, Bates said.

Andy Snope March 15, 2013 at 07:32 PM
My son goes to school here, the teachers and staff here have availed a wonderful nurturing, respectful, educational opportunity for the kids who attend school here. Small classroom sizes, personal attention, a great curriculum , a wonderful environment. Unfortunately the upper administration has been completely out of focus of what is important here, our children's education. Their personal selfish indulgence has brought about a cloud of uncertainty, distrust, and disgrace to all that is important to the educators, parents and most importantly students who are a part of this system. Now we have to all pay the expense of litigation. With school budgets pushed to the limits the way it is, we need this money for education not litigation. I would call on the superintendent Jett and the principal Bennett to do us all a favor and resign, and just disappear. Let us all make a clean break from the damage you have done here and let us begin heal and to move forward again.

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