MONROE, Wash. — Monroe School District Superintendent Dr. Justin Blasko was placed on administrative leave by the school board following calls for his resignation.
School board members met Friday to review Blasko's performance.
Kim Whitworth will be acting superintendent while Blasko is on leave.
The decision follows calls from teachers, parents and students for Blasko to resign for not doing enough to stop racism and hate. On Dec. 13, a student walkout and protest were held at district headquarters.
“Our students don't feel safe and welcome in our schools,” Robyn Hayashi, a sixth-grade teacher, previously told KING 5.
She and others allege there's been a years-long pattern of racism, hate, and discrimination in their schools in the form of students targeting other students, and they say school leaders have largely looked the other way.
“We've had more incidents, more visible incidents, of hate in our schools and we, as educators and community members, feel that it's our duty and priority to come out and be a voice for our students,” Hayashi said.
Several people voiced their concerns during a school board meeting on the evening of Dec. 13.
The district recently placed the principal of Monroe High School on temporary non-disciplinary administrative leave after he repeated derogatory and racial slurs during an assembly aimed at addressing concerns about discrimination. He's now back on the job.
In a letter sent to the school district community, board President Jennifer Bumpus said the district will hire a third-party investigator to "gather facts about certain situations currently facing the district to help the board make decisions in an informed matter."
"As I shared with you Thursday via email, we take all reports of harassment, intimidation, bullying, racism and discrimination very seriously and are committed to providing a safe, inclusive environment for all of our staff and students, free of all forms of discrimination," the letter continues. "We will update our community when we have new information to share. We kindly ask for your patience as we proceed with caution and care."