Butler partnership to continue despite suspension

Butler University’s College of Education will keep its partnership with Shortridge Magnet High School for Law and Public Policy despite the school’s principal being suspended.

Currently, Butler is engaged in a partnership with the school to allow juniors and seniors to enroll in one three-credit course each semester at the university through the Early College Program.

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Eugene White suspended Shortridge Principal Brandon Cosby on Nov. 4.

Cosby was hired in 2008 to transform the school into a magnet school and help build and maintain the partnership between the schools.

White recommended that Cosby be fired for poor supervision of students, insubordination and failure to supervise faculty, provide leadership, collaborate with Butler in the partnership, send spending reports to funders and complete teacher evaluations.

Despite this, Butler will continue its partnership with the school, COE dean Ena Shelley said in an email to The Collegian.

“We remain committed to our partnership work with Shortridge,” she said.

Susan Sutherlin, director of peer tutoring and instructor of English, teaches a service-learning course at Shortridge with graduate and undergraduate students. Sutherlin said all of Butler’s activities at Shortridge are continuing as planned.

“We are continuing to plan for our next semester, and we are still active and welcome in the building, as we have been from the very beginning,” Sutherlin said. “So from our perspective, their need and our service have not changed.”

IPS director of school and community relations Mary Bewley said part of the rationale considered for the suspension came after some Butler staff members shared concerns with a team investigating the matter. These were made public at a meeting White held with parents.

“We had an investigative team that interviewed all the staff at Shortridge and spoke to members of staff at Butler,” Bewley said. “There were some negative comments from Butler shared with the public by the superintendent on Saturday.”

Ultimately Bewley said she thinks the controversy may have an effect on students.

“I think it is going to be very disruptive [to the students’ education],” Bewley said. “While it’s unfortunate it has to happen in the middle of the semster, it has to be done.”

WTHR reported that many parents expressed concerns about the firing at White’s meeting with them.

“Mr. Cosby has found a way to get through to these kids,” the WTHR report quoted a mother as saying. “You remove him as a leader, you put them two, three steps back.”

Currently the school’s two assistant principals are acting in place of Cosby indefinitely. Cosby is still being paid by IPS and can appeal White’s decision, which would prompt a school board review within 10 days.


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