Staff at Cheyenne’s McCormick Junior High School violated district policy regarding how bullying and harassment claims should be addressed and bullying did occur, an investigation concluded.
The Cheyenne school district released a statement Friday saying the Title IX investigation into bullying at Cheyenne’s McCormick Junior High School was finished. The statement said “some staff at McCormick has not always followed District policy regarding these types of allegations and actions,” and that “some bullying, harassment and confrontation among students has occurred at McCormick Junior High School over time.”
The statement continued, “Although the District has implemented its bullying and harassment policies with staff throughout the District, and has trained staff in that regard, the District will reinforce training for staff throughout the District.”
The investigation was in response to racist and anti-gay flyers found at the junior high in late March, which students and a teacher at the school said was the culmination of months-long bullying of McCormick’s Gay Straight Alliance club.
Laramie County School District No. 1 Superintendent Boyd Brown said the district will release an action plan detailing next steps at its May 6 board meeting. He said that plan has not been finalized yet, but will include planning a community meeting organized by the Department of Justice.
Brown could not provide a date for that meeting.
“We would want it to happen as soon as possible,” he said.
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Last week, the district issued a statement notifying the public that the then-principal of the school, Jeff Conine, was no longer principal of the school and that Bain Elementary Principal Todd Burns would be taking over the role for the remainder of the school year.
Brown declined to comment on Conine’s departure, calling it a personnel matter.
At least a dozen current and former McCormick students or parents have made allegations against Conine, claiming he has not followed district policy when handling claims of bullying.
On the day the flyers were found in the school, Kaycee Cook, a then-substitute teacher and co-sponsor of McCormick’s GSA club reported the flyers to Wyoming Equality, an LGBTQ advocacy group that, among other things, oversees GSA clubs around the state.
After Cook reported the flyers, she received an email from Conine informing her she was no longer welcome to substitute at the school and could only visit her husband, a full-time teacher at McCormick, when students were not present.
Previously, Brown said once the investigation into the incident at McCormick concluded the district would have a decision about Cook’s position at McCormick.
Cook said so far nobody from the district has contacted her about her teaching position, and Brown did not reply to an email she sent him Monday.
Brown said it was a personnel matter and he could not comment on it.