Former charter school administrator Runell King is suing his former employer under Louisiana’s whistleblower law.
New Beginnings Schools Foundation fired King after he reported irregular grade changes at John F. Kennedy High School.
King believes his dismissal is no coincidence, and the New Beginnings Schools Foundation wanted to make sure everyone in their system went along with grade alteration.
New Neginnings Investigation Turns Up Issues
King first went public with the issues at New Beginnings when around a dozen instances of grade alteration went uninvestigated at Gentilly High School in March 2019. After The Lens reported this, New Beginnings conducted an investigation that unearthed more profound issues.
This investigation revealed extensive mismanagement, special education quandaries, and unverifiable student transcripts. Even worse, more than a dozen seniors later found out they were never eligible to graduate because of these discovered inconsistencies.
These findings led to the resignation of then-CEO Michelle Blouin-Williams, along with various other employees being dismissed. It eventually led to New Beginnings surrendering control of Kennedy and Pierre A. Capdau Charter School back to Louisiana.
New Beginnings’ final year of managing schools was brought to a halt by COVID-19 and Louisiana’s shutdown of schools.
Galen Hair of SVHC helped file King’s lawsuit the day the school shutdown was put into effect, around one year after King was let go.
Galen Hair Speaks On New Beginnings Wrongful Termination
“It is pretty clear that Dr. King did advise all the powers that be of the grade changing that appears to be taking place,” his lawyer Galen Hair said in an interview Thursday. “And it’s curious to Dr. King, and frankly anyone else that knows about the situation, that he was later told he didn’t provide enough information to substantiate his allegations.”
“I think there’s a rational conclusion that one could make that had he not said anything about the grade changes that he wouldn’t be in this situation today,” Hair said.
Hair notes King is suffering economic loss and taking a hit to his reputation as an educator.
“He was not the boy who cried wolf,” Hair said. “He was an educated individual who thoroughly investigated the situation and sought the truth until the very end.”
Hair wants to be patient and stay the course with the suit, even with Louisiana courts closed due to COVID-19.
“We have a job to do, we had to file that suit to protect Dr. King and his interests,” he said. “But right now the larger concern is everyone stays safe.”