The Indiana Department of Education is investigating the hiring of former Bremen Elementary-Middle School assistant principal Amy Weidner as principal at St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Goshen.
Bremen fired Weidner in February 2008 for “conduct that offends the morals of the community” and being “a bad example to the youth” of the district.
She was hired by the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend this past summer.
Weidner declined to discuss the matter for this story.
Mark Myers, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, said this week that the school was aware Weidner had been fired previously when she was hired, but he declined to talk about specific details on the record, instead releasing the following statement:”Available information on each candidate’s academic credentials, professional experience, and personal background are sought out and carefully reviewed prior to a decision being made on the candidate’s suitability. Central to the decision making process when hiring a principal for a diocesan school are the candidate’s standing as a practicing Catholic, character, and ability to serve as a role model for all those within the school. This process was utilized when selecting the current principal of St. John the Evangelist School in Goshen.”
Weidner allegedly wrote a fraudulent letter that ultimately led to her firing from Bremen, according to past Tribune stories. She allegedly sent the letter to the pastor of a local church and a “Mr. Treathway,” expressing concern about a student at the school and threatening to contact the county Department of Children’s Services about the child’s situation.
The letter was purported to be from a member of the church’s congregation and was disguised by Weidner to be from someone else by having spelling and grammatical errors in it, according to Bremen, which said she prolonged the fraud by meeting with the child’s parents to discuss the contents of the letter, knowing she had written it.
Weidner reportedly later admitted to both school officials and parents that she had written the letter, but she allegedly took further fraudulent steps several days later by calling a therapist who had worked with the child and asking about “family issues” — claiming she was concerned about an anonymous letter the school had received.
Because of this, the Bremen school board unanimously approved Weidner’s firing. The Indiana Department of Education began its investigation after being contacted by the parent of a Bremen student who questioned why someone fired for immoral conduct would be put in a position of authority over children and why the state does not have a better system in place to monitor such cases.
Cam Savage, spokesman for the IDOE, said the department is investigating the case and no action has been taken yet.
Other offenses — immorality, misconduct in office, incompetency and willful neglect of duty — could result in a revoked license. The diocese’s decision to hire Weidner was legal because she still has a license, Savage said.
But having now learned of the firing, the state will decide whether there should be licensing consequences for Weidner, Savage said.
When such instances are reported, it’s standard protocol for the state to at least look into it, he said.” The DOE learns about these types of situations through a variety of manners,” he said. “Frequently we’re notified by superintendents and school board members.
“And sometimes we’re notified by parents and concerned citizens or the media.”
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