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Crofton Elementary principal asks for transfer after parents raised concerns

An Anne Arundel County elementary school principal has asked for a transfer to another school after district officials began investigating concerns that she did not respond to complaints about a student before he ended up threatening a teacher.

In a letter to the school community this week, Crofton Elementary School principal Shauna Kauffman said Superintendent Kevin Maxwell had approved her request for a transfer to another school. She will be moved at the end of the school year.

"The events of the last month have been troublesome," Kauffman said in the letter. "However, we are making progress in overcoming our challenges and restoring our school community."

Kauffman said she thought her transfer was "in the best interests" of the community, staff and students. Kauffman said through the school secretary that she was not available on Friday for an interview.

Before Kauffman sought a transfer, parents had sought to have her reassigned. "Any time you have a significant number of people dissatisfied with the school leadership, that is an issue," said Bob Mosier, a system spokesman who said the administration took seriously concerns expressed by parents.

The system is still investigating how school staff and the principal handled a March 22 threat to a teacher. "Our office of investigations is looking at the events that happened and the staff response to it," Mosier said, adding he could not discuss details of the event because schools must protect the privacy of students.

On March 22, administrators said in a letter to parents that a student had made a threat against a teacher at Crofton. "A student whose behavior I would describe as out of control" was taken to the guidance counselor's office, before both administrators and the teacher called police, Mosier said. No weapon was involved in the incident, according to Mosier.

Police arrived in front of the school at dismissal time, raising concerns among parents picking up their children.

The next day Kauffman went on a planned vacation, and her district supervisors came to the school to deal with the situation. In a letter to parents, Assistant Superintendent Monique Davis said the child who had been disruptive was no longer at Crofton Elementary and had been transferred to another "educational setting." Because of privacy rules, she told parents, she could not say what if any disciplinary action had been taken against the boy.

When Kauffman returned to school the following Tuesday, she wrote a letter to parents saying that upon reflection she believed she could have communicated better with parents.

Parents complained to the principal that the student had been causing disruption to the school for weeks prior to the threat, but that she did not respond. Mosier said those complaints were not sent to central office staff until after the threat.

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

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