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Local

DeKalb HS principal on leave for rest of school year

Tamra Ropeter
Tamra Ropeter

DeKALB – DeKalb High School principal Tamra Ropeter will be out for the rest of the year for personal reasons, and the DeKalb School District 428 Board has asked Superintendent Doug Moeller to take over her duties.

In a message to families Friday afternoon, Moeller said he would take over as high school principal in addition to his role as superintendent. He said he could not comment on the reason for Ropeter’s leaving the school where she has been principal the past four school years.

She was out Thursday with a scheduled absence, he said.

“All we know right now is she will not be back this year,” Moeller said.

Moeller, who was principal at the high school for three school years ending in 2012, said that student attendance had improved at the school Friday.

Moeller’s message also addressed recent tensions at the high school after a Black History Month presentation upset some students and led to rumors about threats of violence at the school.

On Thursday, more than 200 students called in before school even started and many more decided to leave early, he said.

“It was just a revolving door. I was amazed, kids showed up and left,”Moeller said. “… A lot of them said there’s not a lot of kids here, so why should I be here, is what I heard.”

On Friday, there were 332 students out, which was an improvement, Moeller said. He added that Friday was the last day that students would be excused for calling in with vague safety concerns, Moeller said.

In his message, Moeller said everything had gone well at the school the past couple of days.

“Rather than being reactionary about any of the unrest experienced earlier this week, we are determined to view this as a growth opportunity,” he wrote. “The vast majority of our students modeled how to take a controversial situation and learn from it. Next week, we expect to have our teachers use this event as a ‘teachable moment’ with students in their class.

Moeller said officials wanted to wait until next week because attendance still was down and talking about the issue would be easier once emotions had subsided.

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