Enid Public Schools Officer Accuses Administration Of Obstructing Justice, Ignoring Safety Threats

Thursday, October 31st 2019, 10:48 pm

The chief of police at Enid Public Schools is accusing district administrators of covering up disturbing student conduct and multiple threats of violence. 

Officer Michael Dods said because he reported two incidents of disturbing behavior to the Garfield County district attorney, he received a termination notice from the superintendent.

The allegations are being claimed in a notice sent to Enid Public Schools from Heath Merchen, Associate General Counsel at the Oklahoma Education Association.

The first incident happened on or around May 20, 2019, when Dods received a report that a male high school student was threatening to harm multiple female students. Dods investigated and determined the student had made violent treats, stalked the female students, and then an assault had occurred.

A school janitor also became concerned after the same student began asking about how to access the schools roof, get through certain locks, and the school’s layout.

The student was arrested.

The Garfield County district attorney filed felony charges and issued a “no-contact” order, preventing the student from coming into contact with the female victims.

When a new school year began, Dods claims he approached high school principal Dudley Darrow, concerned the student would continue to violate the “no-contact” order.

The high school principal allegedly told Dods that “he was not to arrest the perpetrator under any circumstances.”

Darrow also stated that “if Officer Dods charged or arrested the perpetrator, he would be fired.”

Assistant Superintendent Doug Stafford then called Dods into his office and allegedly told the officer “that he was not to report any criminal violations to the district attorney and that school administrators would handle those matters.”

The student, again, violated the “no-contact” order and Dods reported it to the Garfield County district attorney.

When Assistant Superintendent Stafford discovered the report, the notice claimed Stafford threated to fire Dods and demanded he “get in line.”

Another incident occurred October 19, 2019, when a student, wielding scissors in a classroom, threatened to kill staff and students.

Dods investigated and determined charges were necessary in the case.

The notice alleged prior incidents had occurred and none were reported to law enforcement.

Assistant Superintendents Randy Rader and Doug Stafford, and high school principal Dudley Darrow allegedly intervened, and told Dods “not to forward the information to the Garfield County district attorney.”

The notice claimed when Dods met with the district attorney and filed the report anyway, Assistant Superintendent Rader “became irate and threatened to fire Officer Dods if he did not immediately drop the charges.”

The notice claimed that in retaliation, Dods was demoted and placed on “a plan of improvement.”

Days later, Dods claims that’s when Enid Public Schools superintendent sent him a termination notice.

Enid Public Schools sent the following statement to News 9:

“There is nothing more important to Enid Public Schools than the safety of our students and staff. It is our greatest priority, and we would never compromise it. Because this is a personnel matter, we are unable to discuss the specifics of the situation.

The district has worked in every possible way to ensure all state and federal laws, as well as the district’s employment contract and policies, have been followed and will continue to be followed.

We have not yet received the correspondence/claim from Mr. Dods attorney that has been released on social media. If and when we do, the district will grant his request for a due process hearing with the Board of Education, where thorough and accurate information about the district’s concerns can be shared as well. 

The notice letter to Mr. Dods setting out the cause and the underlying facts for his termination is a confidential document until the due process hearing; however, if Mr. Dods will sign a release, the district would be able to provide the notice letter to the media.

We will continue to partner and work closely with the Enid Police Department, who is assisting the district with school safety-related needs. We greatly appreciate their support of our students and our staff.”

Dods’ termination will not be official until the Enid Public Schools Board of Education votes on the matter.

Dods claims that he is being deprived of due process.

As of now, the next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for November 18.

The Oklahoma Education Association believes it is possible other incidents may have gone under-reported.


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