Crooked River Elementary Principal Cheri Rasmussen will return to work Thursday, May 11, Crook County School District Superintendent Duane Yecha announced Wednesday afternoon.
"The information provided to the District in this matter was reviewed in the context of law and policy regarding student restraint and privacy, and we have determined that Cheri should and will return to her position as Principal of Crooked River Elementary School on Thursday," Yecha said in a statement.
Rasmussen has been on paid administrative leave since April 19 while the District Attorney's office conducted a harassment investigation relating to Rasmussen's discipline of a student. The DA determined there was no criminal action.
The school district, however, is completing its own investigation.
"Principals play a critical role in our community and it is appropriate to have high expectations for those individuals," Yecha stated. "At the same time, it is equally important for our schools to function as they should, to have open lines of communication between administration and staff, and between the administration, the parents, and the community without worry or concern for retaliation or retribution."
Yecha said that public education is regulated by state and federal laws and administrative rules, and there are times when a statute or rule comes into question requiring an investigation.
"Simply because an investigation is instituted is by no means an indictment against those involved in the process. And it can be an effective means of reaffirming our individual and collective commitment to providing our kids and our community with the best education," Yecha stated. "The district is committed to conducting such investigations in a fair and thorough manner, which can be a time consuming process."
More than 120 Rasmussen supporters came out to the school board meeting Monday evening to voice their support for her, asking the superintendent to put her back to work.
"I appreciate and respect the fact that we must always be cognizant of the District's rules and policies, as well as the Oregon statutes and administrative rules that govern our teachers and our principals. Clearly there are often better ways to do something," Rasmussen stated. "We are all lifelong learners and sometimes it takes a process like this to remind ourselves of our commitments to the system and to each other. My commitment is, as always, to be, in the eyes of my colleagues, the administration, and the kids, an outstanding principal, and I will strive to continue to improve as a leader in our educational community."
Look for a full story in the Friday, May 12 issue of the Central Oregonian.