NEW ORLEANS — The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has shut down a New Orleans charter school while the state Education Department investigates whether school officials reported an alleged sexual incident between two elementary students.
Acting State Superintendent Ollie S. Tyler said the department was notified Thursday that a former teacher claims to have reported the alleged incident without any action by officials at Abramson Science and Technology Charter School.
His letter was sent Friday to BESE members.
BESE President Penny Dastugue said the board shut down the school for the investigation’s duration.
The school’s contract was already under probation while the state investigated numerous complaints. Tyler’s letter said the school may have tried to bribe a department employee.
Pelican Educational Foundation, which runs Abramson, also operates Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge and has done so since 2009.
Before that, Kenilworth was a middle school operated by the East Baton Rouge Parish public school system.
Several board members expressed alarm on Friday that information about a state audit last year did not come before BESE before it voted last summer to renew Abramson’s charter.
The state Education Department recommended BESE give the school a one-year renewal with a “corrective action plan” to address deficiencies in special education services.
But board members said they had not seen Dunbar’s memo or records giving accounts of classrooms going unstaffed for weeks at a time and potential cheating in science fair competitions.