Torrey Pines Elementary principal leaves amid allegations of harassment, discrimination and campus bullying

Lisa R. Parker

To blended responses from mom and dad, Torrey Pines Elementary University Principal Nona Richard has left her situation amid accusations from some mother and father of harassment, intimidation, discrimination and failing to handle college student bullying.

Richard, who was named the La Jolla school’s principal in November 2018, informed the La Jolla Light on June 15 that she is no longer with the San Diego Unified Faculty District and referred all questions to the district’s communications section.

District spokeswoman Maureen Magee reported June 21 that “the district does not remark on pending statements or litigation” but that “the overall health, basic safety and properly-remaining of all pupils and team continue to be a top priority for the district.”

In a concept to Torrey Pines Elementary mothers and fathers, Richard wrote: “I needed to let you all know that I am discovering other leadership alternatives and won’t be returning to Torrey Pines for the approaching school year. I am sharing this with you now so the recruitment method can commence. … Thank you to all of the students, workers customers, dad and mom and group partners who have built my years at Torrey Pines so unforgettable.”

She explained previous TPES Principal Jim Solo, who remaining the position in 2013, will serve as interim principal for the duration of the look for for a long-lasting substitution.

The shift came times right after a declare was submitted with San Diego Unified relating to Richard’s perform on campus.

Just one relatives filed a demand letter (a official ask for to settle a dispute just before continuing with a lawsuit) with district Superintendent Lamont Jackson on June 13, inquiring for an undisclosed amount of money of cash.

The family members’ names are not currently being revealed mainly because the youngster associated is a minimal.

The family’s letter accuses Richard and her staff of “unspeakable and illegal harassment, intimidation, segregation, bullying and discrimination” from their son simply because he has a health-related ailment that prohibits him from sporting a experience mask. Until eventually April, masks have been expected indoors at all district campuses as portion of COVID-19 protocols, even though an off-campus impartial research possibility was readily available.

The boy “was delivered a health care exemption from sporting a mask from a accredited healthcare health care provider … for troubles he has had considering the fact that 2019,” according to the letter. When he arrived at school, Richard told the boy’s parents to select him up “and threatened to phone the police,” the letter states.

The boy’s father additional that for 20 school times, the pupil was retained out of his classroom and was seated at a table outside the house for unbiased research. The letter also accuses Richard of “moving her body to block” the scholar from getting into the classroom.

The letter promises the boy “is fearful of any interaction with Ms. Richard” and “is concerned to get out of the auto when Ms. Richard walks by.”

The very same letter accuses Richard of not addressing incidents of scholar bullying on campus. It says the family’s daughter was the matter of bullying “by two college students on four individual occasions” due to the fact “she did not pull up her mask” when requested.

The letter alleges the female was strike on the deal with and punched in the stomach and that the faculty administration “did not fully reprimand the students.”

A family who has pulled their child from Torrey Pines Elementary accused Richard of not addressing bullying versus their daughter.

The girl’s mother and father reported she located a paper airplane with “a loss of life threat” composed on it when she was a university student at TPES. A different student admitted to creating the observe but went unpunished, the girl’s parents say.

“[Richard] experimented with to say our daughter was essentially the bully,” the girl’s mom claimed. “This exact boy hit our daughter, but she stood up for herself. She instructed the teacher and no a person informed us.”

In the weeks afterward, the woman went from loving faculty to hating it, her mother stated. “It turned a chore to get her out of bed and off to faculty.”

The family members decided to pull the female from TPES and enroll her in yet another college.

Her father stated he thinks that situations of bullying were being “swept below the rug” to “make the university glance much better.”

However, other mom and dad mentioned Richard will be missed.

“Nona brought a fantastic combine of enthusiasm for the pupils, strength and administrative savviness to the job,” said Claire Adida, the TPES Foundation president when Richard began as principal. “She arrived soon after a complicated time of changeover: We had experienced a few or four interim principals as we carried out the search. I quite a great deal loved performing with her, and I know she will be missed by numerous. I wish her the finest in this next action of her occupation.”

Father or mother Heather Lang stated that in the course of the pandemic, “I appreciated Dr. Richard’s willingness to listen to all parents’ details of look at and carefully take into account how greatest to keep college students, instructors and personnel protected at our college. She regularly upheld district policy, and she acted in line with the ideal tactics for educational institutions. … For our relatives in individual, she was responsive to worries from mothers and fathers, and she served in obtaining our kid admitted to college yet again last spring in spite of the point that we’d at first opted to preserve our kiddo property by way of the faculty calendar year.”

Yet another mother or father, Alexis Wiktorowicz, reported: “My children go to TPES and we know Dr. Richard properly. She enforced district principles and kept my young children protected through the pandemic, making certain they experienced a fantastic education and learning. M
y youngsters enjoy her she was constantly greeting anyone at fall-off, she was unbelievably concerned and respectful. We are really unhappy to see her go. She was the most effective principal we experienced at TPES. We desire her very well.”

When Richard took the occupation 3½ decades back, she explained to the Light that the principal’s position is to have a “bird’s-eye point of view.”

“I’m not in the classroom with the teachers, I’m not a dad or mum who trusts their child to this faculty, I’m not a staffer scheduling the calendar, I’m a little little bit of every thing,” she stated. “I will need to make certain all individuals voices are regarded as and facilitate a area in which all these voices are introduced to the forefront. I can be the go-among for supporting teachers’ wants to mature skillfully and children’s understanding-building.”

Before coming to TPES, the Alpine indigenous was principal of San Diego’s Hancock Elementary Faculty. Previously, she got a training credential from Countrywide College in 2006 and taught elementary faculty in the El Cajon and Vista school districts. She attained an administrative credential from San Diego State University in July 2016 and turned Hancock’s principal soon immediately after. ◆

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