Iowa superintendent ‘violated his ethical duty’ by preventing children from attending school

The chief of Iowa’s largest school district violated his duty by failing to comply with a law to ensure that students can learn in classrooms during the pandemic, an administrative judge ruled, without specifying how he should be punished..

Administrative Law Judge David Lindgren told an Iowa Board of Educational Examiners hearing Thursday that the Superintendent of the Monks, Thomas Ahart, “had violated an ethical obligation to comply with all applicable laws. ‘fulfillment of these professional obligations as alleged.

However, the Des Moines register reported that the judge gave no time to decide how or even if Ahart should be punished.

Ahart faces potential penalties because the Des Moines School Board violated a state mandate at the start of the 2020-2021 school year that districts must offer at least half-time in-person learning.. For two weeks to start the school year, Des Moines offered only virtual instruction.

After complaints were lodged with the Board of Educational Examiners, the panel concluded in March that Ahart should either give up his administrator license or accept a lesser sanction. Board members are appointed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, who throughout the pandemic called on districts to provide classroom learning and criticized districts that were reluctant to reopen schools due to high rates of COVID infection -19.

Ahart appealed the council’s decision.

Ahart’s attorney, Dustin Zeschke, told the judge it was wrong to punish the principal for carrying out the school board’s instructions.

School board vice president Rob Barron made a similar point to Lindgren, saying Ahart kept the board informed and implemented its decisions.

“I don’t know if I can say that, but he shouldn’t be here in that position right now,” Barron said. “All he did was what my colleagues and I told him to do. I should be over there at that table and he shouldn’t be.

Jesse Ramirez, an assistant attorney general, told the judge Ahart should be punished but doesn’t think his license should be revoked.

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