An "action-oriented" meeting is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for community members to respond to a Feb. 13 incident where an employee at Whitehorse Middle School allegedly pushed, punched and pulled out an 11-year-old black girl's hair during an altercation.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at the Allied Drive Boys & Girls Club location. Boys & Girls Club CEO Michael Johnson, social entrepreneur Sabrina Madison and Young, Gifted and Black co-founder Brandi Grayson will help run the meeting. The mother of the Whitehorse student, as well as Ruby Clay — whose daughter was on the receiving end of a racial slur by a teacher at Hamilton Middle School last fall, will also attend the meeting.
The Whitehorse incident was first reported on Wednesday. The Madison Metropolitan School District said the staff member will not return to Whitehorse and is currently on administrative leave. The Madison Police Department is investigating the incident.
Superintendent Jen Cheatham said the district is fully cooperating with the MPD investigation.
"Our focus now is on fully supporting the student and family, as well as the Whitehorse community as a whole," Cheatham said in an email to parents Thursday night as media reports of the incident mounted. "As a school district, we must be the healers and protectors that our students deserve and ensure that our schools and classrooms are places that value, affirm and uplift our students."
The student's mother, Mikiea Price, told Madison365 earlier this week that a teacher had called on Rob Mueller-Owens, who is the dean of students, because Price's daughter and another student had sprayed too much body spray and had initially refused to leave the room.
"It's still being investigated and we are trying to sort out what happened," Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain said on Wednesday. "We know there is a parent involved who is making a lot of claims as to what transpired, and we of course are checking out those claims and any other facts that we can glean so we can come to a conclusion."
Mueller-Owens said Thursday that he was working with Madison Teachers, Inc. and eventually will be prepared to share what happened.
"It is important for the public to know that MTI strongly supports the full, fair and timely investigation of allegations made against any school district employee, including members of MTI. Our public schools need to be safe and welcoming learning environments for all students and MTI members invest their working lives to realize those goals," MTI Executive Director Doug Keillor said in a Friday statement.
Keillor said it's important for allegations to be fully and fairly investigated before conclusions of facts are made.
Mueller-Owens is one of a half-dozen educators who have been been under investigation for racial incidents since October. Several teachers and substitute teachers across the district have left their positions after allegedly using racial slurs in the presence of students. A teacher at Middleton High School also was under investigation for using a racial slur. A school bus driver in Middleton was fired last fall after hitting a black child.