Resigning WPB principal decried “inappropriate” handling of school investigation

Source: Google Maps

Everglades Elementary School (Source: Google Maps)

Eleven days before she resigned abruptly this week, the principal of Everglades Elementary School complained to school district administrators about how they handled a harassment complaint at her school, including “how the victim was treated.”

Amie Souder

Amie Souder

In a Feb. 11 email obtained by Extra Credit, Principal Amie Souder objected to how the school district investigated a complaint by the school treasurer, who accused the previous principal of sneaking into the West Palm Beach-area’s school’s back office in November to berate her.

The investigation found that the previous principal, Tara Dellegrotti-Ocampo, now the principal of Atlantic High School, “verbally abused” the treasurer during an argument about the placement of business’ banners at the school.

Souder, who replaced Dellegrotti-Ocampo at the school this year, objected that the investigation – which resulted in a letter of reprimand to Dellegrotti-Ocampo – failed to assign blame to other school employees who she said were involved in the incident.

“Not only do I not agree with the results,” she wrote, “but it was handled completely inapropriately [sic] on multiple levels, including but not limited to how the victim was treated.”

Souder did not elaborate on the treatment of the school’s treasurer.

Tara Dellegrotti-Ocampo

Tara Dellegrotti-Ocampo

But in the email, she expressed frustration that the investigation did nothing to discipline “the 3 employees on my campus who both initiated and participated in this incident.” Her email did not name the employees.

“I am obligated by the State of Florida to not only maintain ethical conduct but to uphold it on my campus,” she wrote.

Souder asked that the school district reopen the investigation and assign it to a different investigator.

During the investigation of the November incident, the treasurer said that Dellegrotti-Ocampo appeared to criticize Souder during the run-in, saying “the problem is in that office” and pointing to Souder’s door, records show.

Souder, 39, submitted her resignation on Monday. A school district spokeswoman said her resignation was due to “personal and professional reasons.”

Souder did not return a call seeking comment.

The West Palm Beach-area school is located south of Southern Boulevard and west of Florida’s Turnpike.

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