Parents and students call for removal of Pine Creek High School administrators

Posted at 10:28 PM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-06 00:28:23-04

It’s now been more than a month since a District 20 teacher was put on leave after she was accused of having a sexual relationship with one of her underage students.

While Colorado Springs police are still investigating her case right now, students and parents say the problems at Pine Creek High School go much deeper than this.

Students and parents went to the school board on Thursday night to discuss issues within the school. Many are calling for the removal of current administration after describing issues of intolerance, censorship and discrimination.

"The situation with ‘BR’ being removed for unjust reasons is a symptom of the overall problem within our district," Ryan Maikell, a student said.

From the time of the school board meeting, it’s been 35 days since students say Pine Creek High School theater teacher Carrie Barnhardt-Roberson was put on leave after they say she was falsely accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

"I have denied this because it’s completely untrue," Maikell said.

Maikell says this is only the tip of the iceberg.

"There’s a significant gap between what school administrators think is their school’s climate and what the school climate actually is," he said.

He, along with other parents and students spoke to District 20 school board members on Thursday night, bringing up what they say are issues of censorship on LGBTQ issues, suicide awareness and multiple teachers being apparently silenced.

"I have talked to over ten teachers that have been bullied and harassed, forced out of their positions, paid off to avoid lawsuits and signing gag orders, people are afraid to speak up, why is that?" Vanessa Graf, a parent said.

"And if the leadership at the school may be more conservative and disagrees with sexual preferences and other things, does not make it wrong," Bill Kemp, a parent said.

Now, some parents are saying enough is enough.

"Why is the Academy District 20 superintendent not disciplining and removing the principal of Pine Creek High School and other Pine Creek administrators considering the questions we have raised here tonight?" another parent asked the board.

"Look into what’s going on because I can’t believe that you would know that and be ok with what’s been happening," Graf said.

In response to these concerns, Allison Cortez, a spokesperson for Academy District 20 said, "We encourage our students and families to share their thoughts on educational matters. We especially want to commend our students for coming forward, using their voice and speaking from their hearts at tonight’s board of education meeting. The issues at Pine Creek High school remain under investigation by the Colorado Springs Police Department.  Accordingly, no further comment can be made."