BAINBRIDGE -- A second grade teacher at Bainbridge Elementary has been placed on paid administrative leave and school officials aren't saying why.
Parents with children who were in teacher Jennifer Porter's class told the school board Thursday night they are upset by the situation and want Porter reinstated, yet nearly a dozen of them at the meeting declined to be interviewed by the BannerGraphic.
Also silent were North Putnam Supt. Murray Pride, Bainbridge Principal Dean Cook, corporation attorney Gene Hostetter and several Bainbridge teachers who all declined to comment.
The only school administrator to offer information was Bainbridge Assistant Principal Jo Ellen Cook who confirmed that Porter had been placed on paid administrative leave. She declined any further comment.
A parent of a Bainbridge student told the BannerGraphic after the school board meeting that Porter was placed on administrative leave April 13, but the parent would not say why.
School officials would not confirm when Porter was placed on leave.
Parent Ron Spencer appeared before the school board and said that his daughter, who was in Porter's class, has been struggling to cope with the teacher's absence.
"With Mrs. Porter out of the school, I don't think my daughter's gonna finish strong," Spencer said, appearing to fight back tears.
After Spencer was done speaking, other parents tried to talk but were told by school board President Dale McGaughey and corporation attorney Hostetter that the board was not going to talk about Porter any further.
Outside the meeting, some of the parents expressed frustration that the board did not allow them to speak.
School board member Charlie Boller told the BannerGraphic Friday that he shares some of the parents' concerns and feels corporation officials could have handled the situation differently, so as to quell some of the rumors.
Unlike a majority of his colleagues, Boller did offer a little insight into Porter's situation and said he hoped it would ease some of the concerns of people in the community.
"It's not a situation where kids are at risk," Boller said. "She has not done anything against a child."
Boller said Porter will have a chance to appeal her case to the school board, and for that reason the school board hasn't been given a lot of information either.
He said it was in the best interest of Porter and the corporation not to talk about details.
"We've been told that there is a situation coming if she wants a hearing before the board," Boller said.