LOLETA (AP) – The superintendent of a small Northern California school district will resign amid a federal investigation into allegations district staff verbally and physically abused Native American students.
Sally Hadden will step down Monday as head of the Loleta Union Elementary School District and principal of an elementary school in remote Humboldt County, The Eureka Times-Standard reported Saturday.
The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the racial harassment claims, prompted by formal complaints made by the American Civil Liberties Union, National Center for Youth Law and the California Indian Legal Services in December.
Investigators are also looking into accusations that district staff unfairly disciplined Native American students and denied them access to special education assistance.
The complaint accuses Hadden of hitting students on the head with a clipboard and kicking them while uttering racial epithets.
Hadden didn’t respond to inquiries for comment Saturday.
Loleta Board of Education President John Oswald said Hadden and the board discussed her departure during a closed-doors meeting in May but waited until now to announce the resignation.
“She basically offered – that it was in the best interest, that it was time to move on and let us try to rebuild,” he said. “She was increasingly embattled with staff and made it really difficult to manage the site.”
Oswald said Hadden also failed to increase communication with staff and the community and didn’t implement a concise disciplinary policy. But Hadden did help the district financially, Oswald said.
“As a board member, and personally, I can say we all think she did well with our finances and through a tough recession period,” Oswald said.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.