Ousted CPS principal speaks out about dismissal

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Thursday, December 6, 2018
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Ousted Ogden International School principal speaks out about dismissal

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago Public School principal who was dismissed last month spoke to ABC7 Eyewitness News for the first time publicly about what happened.

Dr. Michael Beyer was principal at the Ogden International School in the Gold Coast when he was abruptly removed following a CPS inspector general investigation accusing Beyer of falsifying attendance records.

"The allegations are not true, we followed all the policies to the best of our ability," he said.

Nicknamed the consulate school, Ogden has several international students. The heavily redacted IG report, which came out last summer, says Beyer improperly logged students with extended absences due to vacations or VISA issues as transfer students rather than unexcused absences.

"We have parents with dual, even triple citizenship in other countries who travel for work and other VISA requirements. It's highly complex," Beyer said.

With complex situations, Beyer said in many cases it's a judgment call on how to classify a student absent. At CPS schools, overall attendance rates are tied to a school's rating. Beyer said the cases mentioned in the IG's report doesn't have any impact on Ogden's rating.

"The numbers they cite, based on what they can tell from redacted report so far, accounts for 1/10th of 1 percent, it makes no difference on the rating," he said.

Beyer was removed from his job two months into a controversial and complex merger with Ogden and the predominantly African-American Jenner School for the Arts.

"He really has brought community together which is very necessary in this type of landmark merger," said parent Ngozi Okorafor.

Many Parents have rallied behind Dr. Beyer, with hundreds signing a petition and others making their case before the school board Wednesday.

"We felt like it was very unfair, we felt there was something going on behind the scenes to undermine the merger," said Colin O'Brien, another parent.

In a written statement, CPS says the district is in agreement with the inspector general's assessment that removing Principal Beyer was appropriate and necessary. The second of three CPS suspension hearings for Beyer will take place Thursday. He is asking for due process.