NPHS band director on leave, pending investigation results

Friday, February 17, 2012

BAINBRIDGE -- The North Putnam School Board met for 10 minutes shy of 2-1/2 hours Thursday night but the issue on many patrons' minds was never mentioned.

The status of North Putnam High School Band Director Craig Rogers has become an issue after parents received a letter this week from NPHS Principal Alan Zerkel.

The letter, dated Feb. 13, states that Rogers has been on paid leave from North Putnam since Jan. 18, pending the completion of an external investigation.

Following the school board meeting Thursday night, North Putnam Supt. Mary Lovejoy declined comment on reports that Rogers is under investigation by the Indiana State Police for alleged sexual contact with a student.

Lovejoy did indicate an external investigation is ongoing but told the Banner Graphic only, "My formal comment is 'No comment.'"

Principal Zerkel's three-paragraph letter called the circumstances "a difficult and challenging situation," and noted that "Superintendent Lovejoy and I are legally bound not to disclose information" regarding the reported investigation.

The letter also advised parents that Rachel Pierce is currently heading the instrumental music program and teaching the history and theory classes in Rogers' absence.

She is prepared to finish out the year, Zerkel's letter noted, adding that the school corporation initially experienced difficulty in finding a qualified music teacher to fill in for Rogers.

"Thank you for your patience during this difficult situation," the principal's letter to parents concluded.

Neither State Police investigators nor Rogers were available for comment Thursday.

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  • What a hush job! I suppose he deserves to be on paid leave???? What is wrong with our schools? I'm sick. This makes me very sad. Why are parents and students just now hearing about this? Shame on you North Put!

    -- Posted by naripon on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 7:33 AM
  • I am apalled that the school took so long to notify parents that there was a problem.The kids have been talking about this for a month and the rumors have been running rampant.The school system covers for their own and to hell with parents

    -- Posted by COUNTYROADSSUCK on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 8:07 AM
  • Why are things are this school continually being kept so hush-hush? The parents have a right to know what is going on or even allegedly going on in their kids school. I left the city to come out here to a smaller school district to get away from stuff like this. The School Board out here is ridiculous. As long as they take care of their own who cares about the rest.

    -- Posted by MyOpinion812 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 8:52 AM
  • Wondering if the board considered John T. Wilson to finish out the year. The best teacher I ever had at any level. As an NP graduate, this is very dissappointing.

    -- Posted by trenter33 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 9:36 AM
  • If you have been listening to the news on television about similar issues in other corporations, you should realize that there are laws governing these kinds of situations, from paid leaves, to firing vs. resigning, and also about what administration can and can't say about such situations. People need to realize that school board members can't just go in and say "This is what we are going to do" and be done with it!! People need to allow them to work through situations. If you don't like the way they do it, run for school board yourself. If elected, I'm sure you'll realize it's a tough job and you get a lot more hassle and negative comments than you get compliments, as well as put in lots and lots of hours attending meetings, etc. It's pretty much a thankless job!

    And trenter33, do you know that Mr. Wilson would be willing to do this, or are you just commenting??

    -- Posted by howsthishappen on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 10:41 AM
  • " Howsthishappen" i agree it is a thankless job and legally there is only so much they can say to parents.That being said they told us NOTHING for a month.The crappy letter they sent out the other day could just as easily been sent out the day after he was suspended.They continually hide things from parents because we let them get away with it.

    -- Posted by COUNTYROADSSUCK on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 12:02 PM
  • There are so many confidentiality laws out there - especially for school boards. I am sure that there is nobody on the School Board that would condone this situation and "try to cover their own" when it comes to the safety of the students. The teacher is not being paid right now - the Banner reported that wrongly. When the time is approproate after this has been investigated, appealed, and appropriately handled by the all authorities and administration, then the Board will swiftly react to it.

    To howsthishappen....most of the people would never want to be on the school board because then they could not complain or talk about these things so much when they want to do so!

    -- Posted by infiremanemt on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 12:04 PM
  • To countyroads....if you live in Monroe, Franklin, or Russell townships then you can run for the school board seat that will be open this November. You can also run for the at-large seat that Mark Hoke is currently in this November.

    -- Posted by infiremanemt on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 12:07 PM
  • This seem's to be a cover up...a lot like the one in Carmel 2 years ago. It's time for a new supt. and principal at North Put. They are not teaching the kids and now this....time for a change.

    -- Posted by ou812 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 12:31 PM
  • WOW, have any of you heard of innocent until proven guilty?

    -- Posted by PassingThought on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 12:35 PM
  • Innocent until proven guilty! People aren't debating his guilt or innocence! They are angry about not being informed of a potentially terrible situation for a month! As a parent of a daughter that goes to school there, I have a right to know! What about our children's right to a safe place to learn?

    -- Posted by naripon on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 1:00 PM
  • What happened?

    -- Posted by localman on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 1:06 PM
  • After speaking to Dr. Lovejoy about my frustration in not knowing what was going on, it was clear to me that she was quite distressed with the whole situation. It would definitely be much easier for her and the school board if they could just fire the teacher and tell everyone what happened. However, that's not the way it works. It is unfortunate that the letter didn't go out sooner, and I would recommend that if this kind of thing happens again, the letter should be sent immediately. At this point, we need to work together as a community and support the elected school board, and our superintendent. We also need to thank Mrs. Pierce, who had planned to be a stay at home mom, for stepping in so seamlessly.

    -- Posted by npmom2012 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 1:11 PM
  • The school has always had a band teacher, Mr Perkins, who helps in the summer and taught while Mr Rogers was being interviewed and considered. Why was he not contacted when a teacher was needed? He seemed very dependable and did a good job.

    -- Posted by BandMom33 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 4:03 PM
  • Well if there wasn't a teachers union this creep would already be fired.

    -- Posted by hometownboy on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 4:39 PM
  • If I remember right there was a similar incident back in 2002 involving a NPMS staff member. There was a big cover up just like this. We as parent's have a right to know. Not to mention that school should be a safe inviroment for our kids. Evidently this is not the case at NP. My daughter is in band there and there was rumors going on back when the Xmas concert was held and Rogers was teaching then. It makes me sick to think that my kid was around him when the school evidently knew about this back then and hadn't done anything yet about it. TIME FOR A CHANGE at NP. Or time to move out of the school district. PARENTS' HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW AND TO PROTECT THERE CHILDREN!!!

    -- Posted by bigcat1327 on Sat, Feb 18, 2012, at 8:35 PM
  • Hello "howsthishappen," I don't know that Mr. Wilson would be willing to fill in, I was just making a comment.

    -- Posted by trenter33 on Sun, Feb 19, 2012, at 8:30 PM
  • Please do not bash the school board. It is a VERY difficult job. I am not on the board, but do know it involves a ton of time and meetings....not to mention, when you have to deal with very difficult situations like this. Instead of bashing the people who are trying to handle this....why don't you support them through this? I know that none of those people on the board, nor the staff I personally know, would want any harm to come to a child/children. I do not have a child in band and do not know the teacher, but I do know that just because someone is accused of something, does NOT mean it happened. Innocent people are wrongly accused every day in this country. It is a sad world we live in. For this situation, instead of bashing....let's support the board/administration and know that they are working to investigate this fully so that the right decision can be made. My prayers are with all involved!

    -- Posted by John3:16 on Thu, Feb 23, 2012, at 9:46 AM
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