PRAIRIE GROVE, Ark. — In a special school board meeting Friday night, the Prairie Grove Superintendent and Middle School Principal announced they will be taking a leave of absence amid outrage over a video depicting the death of educators, staff, and the children of staff during a meeting focused on school shooting prevention.
Those who saw the video tell 5NEWS that the fake memorial pictures were dated December 14—the anniversary of the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
The video was reportedly made and shown to "create more awareness about the serious responsibilities" that the staff has towards their students, according to an email sent to Prairie Grove staff members.
There were also reportedly images taken from the staff's personal Facebook pages that were edited to show mourning families and deceased children in the aftermath of a tragic shooting.
The Prairie Grove Superintendent, Reba Holmes, gave notice to the school board that she is going on a leave of absence and will retire on June 30, 2023. In a letter sent to staff announcing her departure, she says she has been at the district in various roles for 30 years.
Prairie Grove Middle School Principal, Shayne Taylor, submitted a leave of absence for the remainder of the year at the meeting Friday saying, “Stepping away is what I feel best for my family at this time. I wish, with my whole heart, I could heal those of you who experienced hurt. That, and only that, is the reason I made this decision.”
In a previous letter sent out to staff, Taylor said the video was in poor taste saying they regret not taking a firmer stance against the video and promise to advocate more deeply in the future. In another email sent out to staff, the district said it apologizes for showing the safety video in an unannounced manner, saying they did not intentionally mean to hurt anyone, going on to say the true objective was for all to consider safety for the school district.
Dozens of parents and teachers attended the special school board meeting and were vocal about their concerns.
5NEWS will update this story as more information becomes available.
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