Parents have different views over Ardrey Kell High School principal’s reassignment

Ardrey Kell principal reassigned

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Parents are responding to the reassignment of the principal of Ardrey Kell High School David Switzer.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS) conducted an investigation concerning racial incidents that have happened at the school while Switzer was the principal. Switzer was suspended with pay while the investigation was conducted.

Sources say the investigation cleared Switzer of wrongdoing, but parents say with school scheduled to start in about five weeks the timing of finding a new leader is worrisome.

“The person that takes his place has very big shoes to fill,” parent Stephanie Smith said, “so we need to come together as a community and provide support for that individual and move forward together united.”

Smith has two kids who attend Ardrey Kell. She thinks Switzer was unfairly targeted and blamed for the racial incidents. She says offenses involving race is not an Ardrey Kell issue but an issue that is happening not only in Charlotte but in the country. She says Switzer addressed each incident that happened at the school.

“I think people are quick to judge folks these days in our society without having the full picture,” Smith said.

Switzer’s new role will be the Executive Director of Continuous Improvement and Logistics. CMS says this is not a promotion - just a reassignment. He will earn the same amount he earned as principal at Ardrey Kell High School, $144, 739.

“To lose someone who has been embedded in the fabric of AK for the last decade is concerning,” Smith said. “However, we are pleased that David was been cleared of any allegations - proven unfounded - and he is being moved into an expanded position with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.”

Not all people are pleased with the reassignment. Parent advocate Colette Forrest doesn’t think reassigning Switzer was the right decision.

“A good principal does not make a good corporate citizen,” Forrest said. “And he has not demonstrated he is a good cultural citizen.”

Forrest wrote a letter to CMS school board members about her displeasure. She thinks the district is just sweeping things under the rug and not holding Switzer accountable for the racial incidents that have happened at the school through the years. She thinks this sends confusing signals to students.

“When you transfer him after all of these egregious things having to occur under his watch, it’s like business as usual,” Forrest said. “What message does that send to your Black students, to your Black parents, to your Black faculty and staff - that this is still the good ‘ole boy South?”

Smith believes Switzer’s reassignment has nothing to so with the “good ‘ole boy” system, but skills.

“I don’t think privilege has anything to do with it,” Smith said. “I think hard work, dedication to students and the community.”

Switzer’s new duties now include developing training materials and providing training regarding emergency evacuation and other crisis incident procedures. He will also coordinate and supervise all high school graduations including contracts for venues, security, logistics for presentations, communications with schools and community, and site visitations by school representatives.

CMS says it will receive input from the community, parents, students and staff regarding the next principal.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.