MORGANTOWN, W.Va. The superintendent of Monongalia County Schools, Eddie Campbell, reports the investigative work into the incident at North Elementary School is complete, and a final report is being compiled that will soon be delivered to district officials.
On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Campbell said Charleston attorney and former legal counsel for the West Virginia Department of Education, Heather Hutchens, was selected because of her familiarity with education and because she has no ties to the school district. Campbell acknowledged the investigation has been long, but he said they have to be thorough.
“She finished up all of her interviews last Friday, and she is planning to provide us with a written summary of her findings here in the very near future,” Campbell said.
Whatever happened in the classroom with special needs children is not known, but the incident was reported to the police as abuse. As a result, the principal, Natalie Webb, and her assistant, Carol Muniz, along with three other educators, were placed on administrative leave.
“We’re going to make sure if mistakes were made, they’re corrected, and the folks that are responsible for those mistakes are held accountable,” Campbell said.
Two of the three educators placed on leave have returned, but one substitute teacher has been replaced since the investigation began.
“We’ve put a new person, one of our veteran folks, in that particular classroom in place of the substitute that was there,” Campbell said. “That was a long-term, day-to-day substitute that we had in that classroom.”
Campbell said they are required by law to report physical and sexual abuse as soon as they are alerted. The investigation done by Hutchens is only for the district, but Campbell said they have and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement.
“As to whether the authorities determine that the situation rises to the level of a criminal act, that’s up to their investigation and their findings,” Campbell said.
There is no timeline to wrap up the probe, and that’s intentional. Campbell said he wants to make sure nothing is missed, the investigation is honest, and the facts are clear.
“Every day, 11,500 children come to our schools, and their parents are holding us accountable for the safety and education of those children,” Campbell said. “And we don’t take that responsibility lightly at all.”