Derrick Draper speaking at a board meeting. (The Enterprise/File)
ONTARIO – The Ontario School Board for the second time has censured Derrick Draper for his conduct, this time for violating its nondiscrimination clause.
Ontario Middle School Principal Lisa Longoria filed the complaint which triggered the censure vote by the board on Monday, May 24. Her complaint also named Board Directors Eric Evans and Craig Geddes, she said.
“Board members have a public responsibility to conduct themselves responsibly with respect to interactions with school district employees, including the superintendent,” reads the text of the censure. “This public responsibility does not allow board members to engage in conduct that violates board policy regarding interactions with district employees.”
The censure notes that Draper “engaged in conduct toward Principal Longoria that violated Board Policy AC-Nondiscrimination.”
“In consideration thereof, the board of directors of the Ontario School District do hereby condemn the conduct and actions of Director Draper, and by passage of this Motion to Censure, do hereby censure Director Draper,” the text concludes.
There was no explanation from the board for how the complaint against Evans and Geddes was resolved. Board Chair Renae Corn declined comment.
Corn referred a request for a copy of the complaint to school district officials, who by Friday had not responded. Corn has previously said the board would not release complaints filed against board members.
The board met in an executive, or closed, session to discuss the investigation and resulting legal recommendations from their attorneys, Wyatt Baum and Rebekah Jacobson. A reporter from the Enterprise attended the session, but Oregon law limits reporting on what happened.
Draper, Evans and Longoria declined to discuss the exact content of the complaint. Geddes couldn’t be reached for comment.
However, Longoria noted that she decided to file her complaint after Superintendent Nikki Albisu’s public evaluation, during which Draper accused Longoria of violating district policy. She had done so, he argued, by giving a statement to the Argus Observer that he interpreted as critical of the board.
“My complaint was in regards to requiring all remembers of the Board to follow Board policy, pertaining to due process,” Longoria said. “Discussing a complaint about my behavior, in a public forum, while delivering our superintendent’s evaluation, was perplexing.”
Draper’s second censure comes barely a month after his initial censure, with Evans, for violating the board’s nondiscrimination policy and the terms of its contract with Albisu.
The board decided to censure Draper in absentia while declining to censure Evans and Geddes, who were present at the meeting.
Draper declared his resignation from the Ontario School Board during the April 20 meeting in which board members first censured him. However, he never submitted a written letter of resignation, leaving his desired status on the board unclear. Ultimately, he lost his reelection bid to Ontario pastor Tom Greco on May 18 and was not present at the May 24 meeting where his second censure was considered.
“I will accept the findings of the investigation when they are presented to me and hope those named in the complaint will reflect honestly about their behavior no matter the outcome of the investigation. However, I still have not received information in regards to the findings, nor have I been contacted by Chairwoman Corn.” Longoria said.
“I feel exhausted and drained, but hopeful that our work can return to focusing on what is best for students. Getting back to focusing on data, rather than opinions. Focusing on facts and the growth our district has made over the last ten years. This is what is best for our students and the community overall.”
News tip? Contact reporter Liliana Frankel at [email protected] or 267-981-5577.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Derrick Draper had returned to sit on the school board since his resignation. In fact, he has not returned to the board since his resignation. The Enterprise apologizes for the error.
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