KIPP Sunnyside High School principal resigns over campus drinking scandal

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by Larry Seward / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 21 at 7:00 PM

HOUSTON – The principal of KIPP Sunnyside High School resigned after allowing staff members to drink alcohol on campus with two former students who were underage.

In July, four staff members broke policy by bringing alcohol on campus, school administrators said.  Those four women were with two interns, who are former KSHS students who are still minors.  The group was preparing the building for the upcoming school year.  However, all had at least one drink of alcohol on campus, according to administrators.

“Shannon’s young,” said Paul Castro, head of schools for KIPP.  “He’s smart.  He’s hardworking.  He’s a good person who made a mistake.”

Now, everyone involved is gone.  It’s not clear if the interns and staff members left voluntarily.  However, Wheatley resigned just days before school started.

Parents still can’t believe the leadership shake-up.

“I think that’s a pretty big deal; and I think it should be addressed, and more than the principal walking away,” said A.K. Babers, a parent.

Administrators wrote letters to parents assuring them that goals have not changed.  Policies, though, will be better enforced, they said.

“Everyone in our school leadership community knows what happened,” said Castro.  “So, they’re aware of it, and we’re just following up individually with all our principals to help them understand. When in doubt, make sure that you notify people. Take appropriate action.”

Like other KIPP schools, administrators have one goal.

“Our goal is to get our students to and through college and whatever it takes to get us there,” said Lupita Talley, KIPP marketing manager and also a former student.

They said persistence is key, especially now, given what happened to KSHS founder and former principal Shannon Wheatley.

New principal John Allen promises to make that happen.

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