The Winamac High School library was filled with community members attending last night’s Eastern Pulaski Community School Board meeting. Individuals of various walks of life came to defend a faculty member who is currently the subject of an ongoing board investigation. Following the regular meeting, board members were scheduled to hold an executive session regarding alleged misconduct and to discuss job performance evaluation.
Before the public comments were provided, Board President Joe Cunningham started with a disclaimer regarding what could be discussed. “Items regarding personnel that are not public knowledge cannot and will not be shared by this board, nor the administration. We are restricted by the laws of confidentiality about what we can share.” Cunningham explained, “This time is provided for public comment, this is not a question and answer session.”
Individuals who spoke up included fellow coaches, educators and a few family members as well as parents, current and former students and athletes and other respected members of the community. The consensus of the public comments was that Coach Kyle Johnson’s community involvement and individual impact on students, inside and outside of sports and school, overshadows the incident that led to the investigation.
There was strong community support for Johnson and his wife Kari who were reported to go above and beyond for many Winamac students, not just athletes. Individuals emotionally pleaded with board members to take the public input into consideration before making any decisions that would not only result in life-long consequences but could potentially impact the community as a whole.
Superintendent Dan Foster was diligently taking notes during the public comment portion of the meeting. Board President Cunningham mentioned that any decisions made during an executive session would have to be discussed during a public meeting at a later date. More information regarding this subject will be provided as it becomes available.