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Charlotte Area News

Three Top Admins At Carmel Middle School Placed On Leave

Carmel Middle School
schools.cms.k12.nc.us/carmelMS
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Updated 4:49 p.m.

Carmel Middle School's principal, dean of students, and an assistant principal have been placed on administrative leave, according to an email sent to parents Tuesday. CMS has not given an official reason for the move, but two reports say it may have been in response to mishandling of a threat made against the campus this month.

The initial announcement, sent via email Tuesday morning by Community Superintendent Tara Lynn Sullivan, said Principal LeDuan Pratt, Assistant Principal Bethany Gullion, and Dean of Students Patrick Dean had all been placed on administrative leave, and details of the situation could not be shared because they involved "personnel matters."

"I realize this information is unexpected and may be unsettling," Sullivan wrote. "Please know that maintaining the quality teaching and learning environment at Carmel is the highest priority."

In a statement to WFAE, a CMS spokesperson said the situation did not involve "improper behavior by CMS personnel towards any student, and there is no criminal investigation of any CMS personnel related to this review." The spokesperson would not comment further.

It was unclear whether the three staff members were placed on paid or unpaid leave. 

Two television stations, WSOC and WBTV, have independently cited an anonymous source suggesting the administrators were suspended for mishandling a threat made against the school earlier this month.

According to a police report obtained by WFAE, a threat was made against the school around 2 p.m. on Nov. 5, when an unnamed suspect threatened "to bring a weapon to school and to shoot it up." The school did not report the threat to police until the following day around 1 p.m.

It remains unclear how long the three administrators will be kept on leave. In her email to parents, Community Superintendent Tara Lynn Sullivan said she would work with another Carmel assistant principal, Jared Thompson, to oversee the school's operations in the immediate future.

The school district says it's searching for an interim principal and assistant principal.