ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – Wednesday, March 27th, a story was posted to our website regarding Southwest Allen County Schools and a lawsuit filed by a former employee. We were wrong in our reporting when we stated that Superintendent, Dr. Steven Yager, created a website to inform parents of Laura Farner’s departure. Dr. Yager was not involved in the creation of the website. We apologize for this error and thank Dr. Yager for contacting us to ensure we set the record straight.
The website was created by an unknown source on her behalf according to our partner in news, The Journal Gazette. The following story about the lawsuit is taken from information gathered from documents posted to that website.
On March 23, Yager signed a letter that stated Farner was being placed on administrative leave “based upon concerns about the ISTEP+ Test and [her] communications to students regarding testing information and other communications and actions to students”.
A few days later on March 29th, Yager wrote that on May 3rd, the Board of Trustees would meet to consider the “immediate cancellation of [her] Regular Teacher Contract and [her] indefinite teaching contract”. The letter alleges insubordination, neglect of duty, immorality and other good cause as reasons for the proposed contract cancellation.
“In early March, Human Resources began to receive anonymous information regarding ISTEP+ protocol violations. Based upon your comments about being fired, the administration embarked upon an investigation. During this investigation, the Administration received allegations that you told some students that some of their answers on their ISTEP+ test were incorrect and you told them the correct answer to put on their test,” Yager wrote in the letter to Farner.
On April 15th, Farner sent an email requesting to retire at the end of the school year. Five days later the Principal of Haverhill Elementary School, where Farner was employed, wrote a letter to parents announcing Farner’s retirement.
In a letter from Farner to Yager dated April 22nd, Farner wrote that she “categorically den[ies] the allegations”. She also denies giving answers to students, telling them their answers were incorrect or instructing them to change their answers. Later she states that the “result of ISTEP+ invalidation in my classroom is a result of your inappropriate investigation.”
According to The Journal Gazette, the tests of 120 7th graders at Summit Middle School were thrown out because of allegations that the teacher administering the exam breached protocol. After those parents were informed that their children’s scores were being invalidated, anonymous callers implicated Farner in the alleged violation at Haverhill.
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