St. John LaLande Catholic School principal reinstated after state investigation | Opinion

Susan Martin, the principal of St. John LaLande Catholic School in Blue Springs, was back on the job as of Wednesday. She had been suspended during a three-week state investigation into allegations that serious physical bullying at the school was going unaddressed. The state did not substantiate the allegations.

In a letter to the St. John community, Father Sean McCaffery wrote, “I am pleased to share that the Missouri Department of Social Services has completed their investigation, which found insufficient evidence to support the allegation of neglect by Mrs. Martin.”

A parent who made one of three such reports to the state said, “I am disgusted at this result as many parents who were interviewed told about their children being bullied physically and verbally over the years Father and Susan have been in charge. My heart is broken for a school that was once a village of safety and high education.” She recently pulled her child out of the school as a result.

She also said she was disappointed not to have heard anything about the investigation’s findings directly from the state, and she shared an email exchange she had with a state investigator.

“I just received an email from Father McCaffery stating nothing was found on this matter,” the mother told the state investigator. “I’m shocked,” she wrote, given “all the families who have had kids bullied and nothing was done to help them.”

The investigator responded, “You should receive a letter soon. … A report being unsubstantiated doesn’t necessarily mean nothing has happened but that the allegations may not rise to the level of neglect.”

I emailed the diocese to ask if anything would be done differently now, to make sure no other parent feels his or her child is at unnecessary risk from bullying.

Here is the response I received: None.

Which, of course, is an answer.