SPRINGFIELD, Ore., -- The vice principal of the Academy of Arts and Academics resigned Wednesday evening.
In a statement to the A3 governing board, Ed Mendelssohn said:
"In the wake of the decision to dissolve the A3’s charter and the subsequent assignment of Interim Directors, the need for my services has been reduced, if not altogether eliminated. Therefore, I believe it’s in the best interest of the school and the district for me to resign my position so as not to confuse the A3 community as to what role I would continue to play, as well as let the new administrators settle in to their role as building leaders."
Mendelssohn spoke to KEZI 9 News about his decision to step down, and he said it was a difficult decision to make.
"I can't speak for the district, I don't know exactly what their intentions were after they took control of all our contracts, but I certainly didn't feel it was in anyone's best interest for me to stay," Mendelssohn said.
Mendelssohn said he wanted to make it clear he was not complicit in the alleged sexual abuse by A3's former principal Mike Fisher and didn't know about it in any way.
The police report claims a student brought a rumor of the inappropriate relationship between Fisher and a student to Mendelssohn's attention and he dismissed it.
Former A3 board member Chelsea Jennings called for Mendelssohn's resignation shortly after she resigned from the board in light of this police report.
However, Mendelssohn said the allegation against him isn't true because he didn't have all the information.
"Let me be clear, I didn't dismiss the rumor, but I didn't have a lot of credible information to attach it to," Mendelssohn said. "I think it's my responsibility to have credible information before I report something like that. The students I wanted to talk to didn't return the following week, and so it was after that week I talked to [the] officer."
Mendelssohn was at A3 for two and a half years and said he wasn't at the school when the alleged abuse happened. He said he felt like he has become part of a story that isn't about him, and he feels sad, disappointed and betrayed by Fisher's alleged actions.
"I think we all thought we knew Mr. Fisher and in light of the story that has emerged, that's a really hard story to reconcile," Mendelssohn said.
Mendelssohn said it has always been his goal to provide a safe and caring environment for students. He said he'll miss his students, but wanted them to know they will be alright.
He said despite everything that has happened, A3 has been a successful program for students and he hopes the district will keep the spirit of the school intact.
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