Community in uproar over LaVille Elementary principal resigning

LAKEVILLE, Ind. (WNDU) - Dozens of Lakeville parents said they are furious that Ken Shirley, the principal at LaVille Elementary School, is resigning.

“I’m upset because we feel as parents he is being pushed out of our school system unfairly by our superintendent, Mitch Mawhorter. From an outsider's view, we feel like Mitch is against Ken Shirley for some reason,” parent Katie Van Tornhout said.

Tension was high at Monday night's school board meeting as parents fought to keep Shirley in his current role. They claim he was forced to resign.

“And you need to ask yourself, why would he suddenly do this? He spent all this time getting his principal license, then his superintendent license,” one parent in the crowd said.

They said the resignation letter was apparently written after Shirley was informed his contract would not be renewed after the end of this school year.

“A lot of parents have speculation that the superintendent is the reason behind him not being renewed and everything else. The superintendent hasn't come out and told us any reason or given us a reason that he should not be here, other than the fact that we speculate they haven't been getting along,” parent Jared McQueen said.

“My question is, why was an envelope thrown on his desk saying this is when your contract is up?" another parent in the crowd said.

“Not one school board member has contacted Mr. Shirley to ask him the reasoning behind his resignation letter, and to me, that's not representing our interests, to not even know why,” still another parent in the crowd said.

The superintendent declined to comment on the resignation and his relationship with Shirley, only saying it was a personnel issue.

Parents claim this is nothing but a personal attack against Shirley.

“Look at everybody that's here; not to mention just your best employee is leaving, but the backlash that's going to come to the school corporation after he walks away. We're not here for anyone else here but Mr. Shirley,” another parent in the crowd said.

“And only the board has the power to undo something that was done unethically,” another parent said.

The acceptance of the resignation was approved 3-2.

Some students walked out crying, and several parents threatened to leave the district.

"If he is not the principal of our school, we are done,” a parent said.

16 News Now did reach out to Shirley but has not heard back.