Supporters Speak Out In Favor Of Calumet Principal, Accused Of Abuse
CALUMET, Oklahoma - There has been an outpouring of support for an elementary school principal accused of verbal and physical abuse against students.
Earlier this week, parents lashed out against Calumet Elementary school principal Tyler Snowden, saying he was constant trouble. Friday, a room full of teachers, parents, and administrators told a much different story.
Supporters of Tyler Snowden wanted their chance to speak about a man they say has been one of the best disciplinarians Calumet has ever had. In fact, more than 100 people packed the school cafeteria including every elementary school teacher at Calumet.
A small town has been divided, after the aggressive abuse allegations. But now those accusations have those who support the principal, and coach, furious.
"I'm not sure why they're out to destroy him," said 4th grade teacher, Lindy Renbarger.
"I've never had one inkling of thinking he's abusing kids, or bullying kids, or against kids," said Calumet High School principal, Mike Higgins.
"It hurts to think that people in our community would think that teacher would have allowed anybody to mistreat or abuse a child in our school," said Pre-K teacher, Brandi Mendell.
Principal Mike Higgins, and teachers Lindy Renbarger and Brandi Mendell spoke on behalf of the room full of supporters defending what some parents called 'unnecessary verbal and physical abuse against their children'.
"We're not here to abuse those kids in any way, verbally, physically," said Higgins. "We're here to correct the path that they're taking and hopefully get them going the right way where they can be successful."
Wednesday night, parents said one of their biggest concerns was Snowden's prior conviction of assault and battery against a minor in 2006.
"We knew about it. It was really not an issue. We know it was 10 years ago," said Mendell. "He's done things to correct that, people change."
"Although he was convicted, there was a whole other side to that story," said Renbarger.
"Right, he was attacked from behind," said Mendell.
Snowden is also a coach at the school, and is still being praised for leading the girls basketball team to a state championship in 2011 for the first time in the school's history. Snowden has been coaching at Calumet for five years, and was promoted to principal in 2005.