Ardrey Kell High School’s principal, David Switzer, who was suspended pending an investigation amid complaints about his response to racial incidents at the school… One black female student, who graduated in 2018 and asked not to be identified because her family members still attend Ardrey Kell, recalled sitting in class one day when a white boy in the desk behind her cut off one of her braids. “I remember going to school and just feeling so different, in this environment that’s incredibly intolerant and that made it very hard.”. Ardrey Kell High School Online Feedback Form: This email will be sent to angelak.hannan@cms.k12.nc.us. Roughly 53 percent of Ardrey Kell’s student body is white, while 12 percent are black. They said that Switzer sometimes contrasted Ardrey Kell to predominantly black schools in derogatory ways, including one instance where he verbally reprimanded black students on their clothing by telling them they were not at West Mecklenburg High School. CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ardrey Kell High School Principal David Switzer has been suspended, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools confirmed Monday. “Yeah, America,” the teacher said, pausing before going on to say that he came from a school where the staff was predominantly black and did not need to have the same conversations about race. “The events that have occurred at our school are not singular to AK, as they are pervasive issues in our country,” he said. In an email, CMS spokeswoman Renee McCoy said that nine months ago, Switzer reported concerns expressed by his staff to his supervisors. “I just think naturally AK is in a racially charged space right now,” he said. In response to emailed questions from the Observer, Switzer denied making those statements. CMS said in May that the district had no record of disciplinary action taken as a result of the incident. A teacher can be heard telling Switzer that while the issues may not be “a black and white thing,” the recent incidents at Ardrey Kell have all involved black students being targeted, according to the audio. Over the summer, he had bought copies of the book “The Hate U Give” for all his employees, which tells the story of a black girl attending a predominantly white school after she is a witness to a police shooting. The student was disciplined, but officials did not provide specifics. During a follow-up staff meeting in August, Ardrey Kell High School principal David Switzer apologized for offending anyone with his remarks at the earlier meeting and said that he does not use racially insensitive language. “A search for Ardrey Kell High School’s next principal will begin immediately. “Despite the challenges that we face, we are doing our best to address these events in a proactive manner when possible and a reactive manner when necessary in support of our school community, especially our students of color.”. He knew all about me when I went to him for guidance during a very difficult time of decision making.”. Ardrey Kell High School Home of the Knights: School Information: 10220 Ardrey Kell Road Charlotte, NC 28277 Courier # 302. Switzer has been the principal at Ardrey Kell since 2010. “No one was around to say, ‘she should be allowed to wear that.’ None of that was happening. “It was a place where it was easy to become a number and I was a less than remarkable member of the student body,” Olivia Pires wrote. Switzer said he was highlighting the training available to staff. P: 980-343-0860 | F: 980-343-0862: Principal: Jamie Brooks. “But I just feel like at AK, (those conversations) would have to be more intentional in order for it to happen.”, Like us on Facebook to see similar stories, Jerry Relph, Minnesota state senator, dies after being diagnosed with Covid-19, In picking a cabinet, Biden draws from his roots. This spring, one year later, he was selected as Best Athlete in the yearbook, an accolade voted on by the student body. John Cash, an Ardrey Kell parent who is involved with the school leadership team, said that he had not heard about Switzer’s comment and while he found it antiquated, he did not take offense to it. Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball gets huge endorsement from NBA general managers, After student ousted, some question Providence Day promise to listen to Black voices, ‘It was torture’: NC teacher dumped special-ed students in trash can, lawsuit says, ECU gets new leader who grew up in Greenville and has strong ties to the university. Shortly after, Switzer said his assistant principal invited all the teachers of color to the second meeting where he apologized for his comments. Switzer said that Ardrey Kell has been facing discussions of race “head-on,” and that it was a top priority for the school. Three days later, more than 2,000 people were calling for his resignation. “The district supports any staff members’ decision to bring items of concern to immediate leadership to adequately address reported concerns,” McCoy wrote in an email. Roughly 53 percent of Ardrey Kell’s student body is white, and 12 percent is black. “I think it was like a sarcastic comment that you were making from the perspective of someone who might think that all that we’re doing is focusing on how everyone has to be nice to black people.”. Still, Cash said he spoke to his daughter after the West Charlotte basketball incident and asked her if she felt intimidated or uncomfortable at school. Switzer was first employed by CMS in 1997 as a teacher at Myers Park High School and has held several positions in the district, including principal at North East Middle School. The apology by Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High School Principal David Switzer was made in a follow-up staff meeting to the cultural training in August, according to an audio tape recently obtained by The Charlotte Observer. The principal of Ardrey Kell High School has been reassigned to a new job in the district’s central office. “I do know that the remark that people took, whether it was out of context or not, was geared towards African Americans and persons of color so I just wanted to make sure I kind of clear the air on that.”. “Black boy, you better watch your back! The district as a whole is made up of approximately 27 percent white students, 36 percent black students, and 27 percent Hispanic students, according to CMS data. A new principal is now on the job and she wants everybody to feel welcomed at the school especially black students. Ardrey Kell has also hosted parent forums on race and bias, Swtizer said, as well as a roundtable discussion with students of color on how to create a more welcoming environment. Many said Ardrey Kell needed new leadership to implement progress on issues of race, gender and inclusivity. “These are just a few examples of opportunities that some of our students and staff have participated in,” Switzer said. Down through the years, Ardrey Kell High School has made headlines about racial tension at the school. And so again, I apologize, I really do… I don’t say that ever. He said the petition does not reflect the “equitable educational experience we work hard to develop at Ardrey Kell High School.”. Ardrey Kell principal David Switzer has been suspended with pay while the district investigates accusations made against him, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spokeswoman said Monday. On the audio, Switzer says he does not remember exactly what he said, and asks if anyone can tell him what they heard. In 2016, a “Black Lives Matter” message was painted over with “#MAGA” and “Build the wall.” At the time, Switzer told WBTV, the Observer’s news partner, that he found the message “atrocious” and that free speech should not be derogatory in nature. “One incident is one too many, and it pains me to my core that some within our community continue to express racist views and spew hate speech. This is a total diverse everything issue.”. “I think what you said was, ‘Now let’s be honest, this is not about being kind to colored folk,” a female staff member says. “He can’t be the one to change it when he’s done so much to promote it.”. “It was an extension of ‘you look pretty,’ or ‘you should smile,’” she said. “If something came out of my mouth, it was not intended in any way to be a hurtful remark or insensitive or something to that effect,” Switzer said on the recording. The suspension went into effect on … Bañuelos said she picked up on microaggressions and sexist undertones at Ardrey Kell, including when Switzer would call her “sunshine” because she didn’t smile in the hallways. A person in the second meeting recorded it. The teacher said that though he has not yet taught his first class, school alumni have already told him to be prepared for black students seeking him out for advice. He was named Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools principal of the year for the 2013-2014 school year, and was recognized nationally in 2017 when he earned an Excellence in Educational Leadership Award from the University Council for Educational Administration. Brooks was also a teacher at Carmel Middle from 1994 to 2000. The nine students who spoke with the Observer said despite the school’s series of racial incidents, Switzer and Ardrey Kell leadership did not pursue meaningful changes or discussions to educate the entire student body about race and racism. During the Keith Lamont Scott protests in Charlotte in 2016, students at Ardrey Kell organized a related “die-in” protest on campus. Let me make it clear that we believe black lives matter. At Ardrey Kell, the penalty for being late to class after two warnings was to be sent to “lockout.” Students in lockout missed their class for the period and were assigned to do manual labor or chores around the school, according to six former students, which included mopping the halls, moving mulch, picking up traffic cones or digging holes in the garden. She said that he worked with leadership to address those concerns, and that CMS is committed to training its staff members in cultural awareness and sensitivity. The district as a whole is made up of approximately 27 percent white students, 36 percent black students, and 27 percent Hispanic students, according to CMS data. The former students are calling for new leadership after constant racial incidents that have happened at the school through the years. A petition created Friday in support of Switzer’s leadership and in response to the first petition had attracted more than 3,000 signatures by Saturday afternoon. The alumni said they could not recall students being reprimanded for their behavior. LC: Southwest Bell Schedule: 7:15 AM - 2:15 PM Grades: 9-12 Email School . Recently, a popular white Ardrey Kell basketball player was suspended for […] As he was concluding his remarks, Switzer said, he emphasized that discrimination of any type would not be tolerated at Ardrey Kell. But days after a Black Lives Matter display on Ardrey Kell’s spirit rock was vandalized and repainted amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, the latest in a series of racial incidents at the school, a petition calling for Switzer to resign has drawn more than 3,000 signatures. Two alums said they appreciated the difficulty of Switzer’s job and that he did some aspects of it well, particularly when it comes to running a crowded school with more than 3,000 students, but that did not excuse the lack of concrete action over racial incidents at the school. He said he made the comment while emphasizing the value of a “cultural proficiency” training group he had invited to come to speak at the school. Switzer said that Ardrey Kell has provided professional development to staff on culturally responsive teaching. Under Switzer, Ardrey Kell’s graduation rate climbed steadily and the school has excelled in performance metrics. A petition in support of Principal … “I have always built quality relationships with as many students as I could to help them navigate their high school years,” Switzer wrote in his email. Corine Mack, the president of the Charlotte chapter of the NAACP, said CMS and the school board should not tolerate Switzer’s behavior and said it was past time for him to resign. “I treat students like I would want my own children treated. In March 2019, an Ardrey Kell High School basketball player was suspended before a game after allegedly using a racial slur in a social media post. “There’s just complacency regarding racist actions,” Bucey said. CMS principal apologizes after using the term ‘colored folks’ in staff meeting. On Monday, CMS released a video of Switzer in front of the spirit rock. “Switzer has been a big part in promoting this culture,” said Dylan Bucey, who graduated from Ardrey Kell in 2018. In 2017, during a football game against Hough High School, Ardrey Kell students yelled racial threats at a black middle school student visiting from Community House Middle School, which feeds into Ardrey Kell, the Observer previously reported. Real-time updates and all local stories you want right in the palm of your hand. Switzer also made comments they found derogatory to women, including an instance where he said female students could wear yoga pants during a certain time period as a reward “for the boys,” according to five former students who spoke to the Observer. CMS School Web Sites > Ardrey Kell High School. Principal David Switzer has had a long history of racist allegations surrounding his leadership. Principal: Jamie Brooks. “If something was taken out of context, I apologize for that,” he said. In March 2019, a white Ardrey Kell boys basketball player used a racial slur in a Snapchat post before the school’s playoff game against West Charlotte High School, which is predominantly black. Sometimes that means when they do wrong, there needs to be a conversation had about it.”. “So many people complained about it, like, ‘this is unjust, we’re all minors, we’re going to our next class sweating,” Priscilla Bañuelos said. After the spirit rock was recently vandalized, Switzer tweeted that what was painted on the rock was not representative of the school, and that “we stand for & support the movement towards social justice for all.”. When asked what he meant by that, Switzer told The Observer that he was sharing feedback he had heard from Asian and Indian teachers who told him they did not get much out of the training that focused on race as a binary issue. He has been principal at Ardrey Kell since August 2010. About 22 percent of students are Asian and 10 percent are Hispanic. If you harbor hate, if you identify with racist thinking, you have no place at Ardrey Kell High School.”. Yesterday, CMS announced that the Principal of Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High School was suspended with pay while the board launches a full investigation into allegations of racism at the school. Ardrey Kell High School Principal David Switzer has been suspended, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools confirmed Monday. But former students said many discussions needed to happen on a school-wide level, beyond one-time statements made during assemblies or on the morning announcements. “But he knew my name. “When stuff like that doesn’t go penalized, it shows the leadership doesn’t care about fixing the problem.”, Switzer said that because he and other school administrators could not share what consequences were assigned to individual students, “individuals may assume that we haven’t done anything in response; however, any race related issue that has reported to us we have addressed appropriately.”. CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There's a new principal at Ardrey Kell High School this school year. Race and Ardrey Kell Switzer has been the principal at Ardrey Kell since 2010. Jamie Brooks takes over at a time when there have been multiple racial incidents that have happened at the school since the school opened 10 years ago. Switzer said that over the years, the school’s tardy policy has been reviewed and changed based on student, staff and parent input. If things were going to change under him, they would have already.”. CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Former Ardrey Kell High School students have started a petition to ask for the resignation of Principal David Switzer. https://www.taylorsvilletimes.com/2020/12/07/achs-assistant- Yesterday, CMS announced that the Principal of Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High School was suspended with pay while the board launches a full investigation into allegations of racism at the school. These NC schools got COVID testing kits for students and staff. Current and former students said that those who were disciplined for racist incidents at the school rarely faced material consequences for their actions. As you may have read in other communications this summer, in response to events in our school community, locally, and nationally, Ardrey Kell is taking an active stance against racism. But he acknowledged that he may have gotten swept up in the moment and had a slip of the tongue, saying “colored folks” instead of “people of color” as he had intended. The post included a message of violence and referred to playing “in the hood.” It was captured and shared across social media, the Observer previously reported. Numerous alumni responded to the tweet and said that the vandalism was indicative of the deeper problems at Ardrey Kell, while others criticized his statement for not recognizing that the original message and the vandalism were focused on black lives. There was zero protection.”. RELATED: West Charlotte … It’s a new day at Ardrey Kell High School this school year. Established in 2006, Ardrey Kell High School was built in the growing Ballantyne area of South Charlotte. She said that given the current moment, as Charlotte enters its third week of protests related to Floyd, there should be no tolerance for racism and harm to black students. In an interview Thursday, Switzer told The Observer that he did not use the term in reference to any specific group, but he did not say what he was referring to. He was named the district’s principal … Switzer said he was proud of the work Ardrey Kell has done to address racism and bias, but that he was aware the school had a long way to go in undoing racism, along with the rest of the country. Both families have served the community as farmers, physicians, educators, politicians and church leaders. “David Switzer is currently and has been the principal at Ardrey Kell High School for the past decade and yet, as he continues to be in a major leadership position at AK, so do the racist tactics. CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says Ardrey Kell Principal David Switzer is suspended with pay while officials look into accusations of racism. “That was my context. Former students recalled some of their classmates actively trying to disrupt it, shouting “Make America Great Again” and other messages. “I don’t see him as being insensitive to diversity,” said Cash, who is black. Ardrey Kell High Principal David Switzer apologized for referring to people as “colored folks” during a staff meeting last fall. Annie Ma covers education for the Charlotte Observer. Switzer declined a phone interview, and asked for questions to be sent by email. P: 980-343-0860 | F: 980-343-0862 . “Regardless of if I did anything, that doesn’t excuse him violating my space or touching things on my body without consent,” she said. 20 teachers and teacher assistants stayed at home on a recent school day due to COVID-19 issues. CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools principal apologized for referring to people as “colored folks” during a staff meeting, according to a secretly recorded audio tape recently obtained by The Observer. In March 2019, an Ardrey Kell High School basketball player was suspended before a game after allegedly using a racial slur in a social media post. A teacher who attended both staff meetings and asked not be identified for fear of professional consequences told The Observer that it was stunning to hear Switzer use the term, which the teacher said could be associated with the discrimination faced by an earlier generation. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. The student was not allowed to play in the the playoff game against West Charlotte, though he returned for offseason summer camps and was on the team again this year. In August of 2019, Switzer apologized to Ardrey Kell teachers and employees for using the term “colored folks” during an earlier staff meeting, attributing it to a slip of the tongue, the Observer reported. History. The petition comes after another petition was created asking for Switzer to resign. “The (CMS school) board’s responsibility is to get rid of him, period,” Mack said. Principal David Switzer has had a long history of racist allegations surrounding his leadership. He said that he worked toward building more positive relationships whenever a student had a negative experience with him or anyone else on staff. COVID-19 outbreak at Lake Norman campus prompts charter school to go remote learning, How a former big-time Charlotte radio host reacted to losing a foot: ‘It is what it is.’, From pix with Bieber to a Charlotte courtroom: Father, son charged with COVID fraud, Snow, freezing rain could slicken roads in NC mountains, forecasters warn. Thus far, we have established a parent task force to discuss the reality of racism at AK and develop plans to make needed changes. Since he took over Ardrey Kell High School in 2010, David Switzer has been considered one of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ top principals, winning the district’s principal of the year award in 2013-2014 and a national award in 2017. In multiple cases, Switzer referred to predominantly black or lower-income schools in CMS, such as Rocky River, as “the ghetto,” according to five former students. Audible gasps were heard at the first staff meeting when the comment was made, a teacher tells Switzer in the recording, and some of the people who most visibly reacted to the comment were white. Some worry as the leader of the school, he may become a scapegoat. “It’s highly unacceptable,” the teacher said. But in recent years, Ardrey Kell students have been involved in a number of racial incidents targeting black students. In March 2019, a white Ardrey Kell boys basketball player used a racial slur in a Snapchat post before the school’s playoff game against West Charlotte High School, which is predominantly black. Switzer then asked employees to “be the brakes, not the gas” and invited them to talk to him directly about things they may hear at school. About 22 percent of students are Asian and 10 percent are Hispanic. David Switzer is currently and has been the principal at Ardrey Kell High School for the past decade and yet, as he continues to be in a major leadership position at AK, so do the racist tactics. He said that he was continuing to evolve as a leader, and welcomed feedback from parents, students and staff. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. She was an assistant principal at Ardrey Kell from 2007 to 2008 and at Mint Hill Middle from 2003 to 2007. Jamie Brooks has been with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools since 1994 and most recently comes from Community House Middle School… The student was not allowed to play in the the game, though he returned for offseason summer camps and was on the team again this year, the Observer reported. Said in … principal: Jamie Brooks in this article like I would want my own children.... Making. ” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms Service. 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