Kalamazoo principal put on leave after sexual harassment allegations emerge

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Loy Norrix High School principal Rodney Prewitt was put on administrative leave Monday night after allegations of misconduct surfaced last week. Parent Brianna Noyes-Deal said she wasn’t shocked.

“He should’ve been placed on leave earlier,” said Noyes-Deal during an interview in her home. “February this complaint came out. It takes until October before anything is acted upon?”

According to KPS, a former counselor at Loy Norrix filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Mr. Prewitt and Kalamazoo Public Schools. She said parents were notified about it Monday evening.

“It was 6:32 When I received a robocall last night saying that the principal of Loy Norrix High School was put on leave and that Johnny Edwards was going to be the interim principal,” said Noyes-Deal. “Oh by the way the parent advisory committee meeting for tonight has been cancelled.”

Noyes-Deal said she arrived for that meeting early and like most parents was ready to discuss everything that had happened at the school within the last week. Thursday, several fights broke out throughout the school. Over 20 officers from Kalamazoo Public Safety and the Portage police department arrived to stop the violence, using pepper spray to break them up.  News of the lawsuit being filed emerged later that same day.

“The teacher said ‘Well with everything that’s going on over the last week, they thought it best to cancel it,” said Noyes-Deal recalling a conversation she had with a teacher Monday night. “I said ‘That’s when you have to have it, not cancel it.’”

Noyes-Deal said everything going on lately at Loy Norrix — the fights, the sexual harassment allegations against the principal and even the cancelled meeting — are all examples of poor leadership at the school. It wasn't always like this she said. She graduated from Loy Norrix in 1981. Since then both of her children have attended the school and it’s changed a lot as the administrations have changed.

“Loy Norrix is a soap opera,” said Noyes-Deal. “It is a soap opera.”

KPS released a statement Tuesday saying:

“In our legal system, everyone is considered innocent until proven otherwise. Media scrutiny has detracted from the focus of day to day operations at Loy Norrix High School. Rodney Prewitt has been placed on administrative leave. Staff and parents were made aware of the change last evening. The parent meeting scheduled for last evening was postponed, and notice was given in a robocall I made to parents, the text of which was: “Good evening, Loy Norrix parents and guardians. Please be advised that Principal Rodney Prewitt has been placed on administrative leave. Mr. Johnny Edwards, former principal at Loy Norrix and current director of secondary education, will be the interim principal. Tonight’s PTO meeting has been cancelled.” That meeting will be rescheduled after Johnny Edwards has had an opportunity to transition into the role of interim principal."

Noyes-Deal said the solution is not replacing Prewitt with someone from the school's offices. It's to have the administration completely overhauled.

“I don’t wish ill on anyone but Mr. Prewitt should not principal of a high school,” said Noyes-Deal. “I also think that it should not be just Mr Prewitt that is made to be penalized for this because Mr. Prewitt didn’t hire himself.”

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