KIPP Sunnyside High School Principal resigns after on-campus drinking incident

August 20, 2012 8:49:08 PM PDT
A local high school principal is starting the school year out of work after failing to report an after-hours party involving alcohol on campus.

Shannon Wheatley was not only the principal at KIPP Sunnyside High School, he was also the founder. But on Monday, the school says he stepped down after officials found out about a gathering this summer he did not even attend.

Wheatley resigned from his role as principal before he faced any disciplinary action. It's likely he would have. A school official told us he did not follow protocol after choosing not to report a gathering on campus that involved alcohol.

No one answered at Wheatley's home when we knocked on the door, nor did he return phone calls and texts from us.

According to a KIPP spokesperson, four office workers and two college-aged former students, who were interns on campus, had drinks on campus in July. No current students were present.

Wheatley, who was out of town at the time, learned of the get-together, talked to the employees, but did not report it the administration, a serious violation.

"There is no gray (area) in a matter like this. We have to really be clear that our expectations for our campuses are that families entrust us with their children and they have to always be able to trust us with their children. So we have high expectations," said Chris Gonzalez, spokesperson for KIPP.

When students returned to school last Monday, they were given a letter for their parents that reads in part, "Our principal and founder, Mr. Wheatley, will no longer lead KIPP Sunnyside High School. Mr. Wheatley will continue to be devoted to the children and families of KSHS and will remain a strong supporter of the school. He thoroughly believes in each of our children and knows that they will be successful in college and in life."

The KIPP organization says it owes Wheatley for all the time and energy that he dedicated to creating a vision for KIPP Sunnyside, but they say what happened is just unacceptable.

Wheatley was KIPP Sunnyside's founding principal and had been at the school for more than five years.

The four office workers who were involved in the gathering are no longer employed with KIPP.

The acting principal is John Allen. He has 20 years experience as an educator and is currently KIPP's deputy head of schools.

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