Muncie Community Schools terminate teacher tied to controversial school assignment

MUNCIE – Katey O’Connor, the teacher at the center of controversy at Muncie Central High School last November, was officially terminated by Muncie Schools on Tuesday evening.

The termination comes following a November 2021 conflict over a display of student-created posters regarding social issues in a hallway at the school, was completed by Church Church Hittle + Antrim, according to a statement from the high school.

Previously, Muncie Central High School announced that several new procedures will remain in place now that a law firm has completed its independent review over a class assignment that prompted controversy and student-led protests.

“The firm conducted interviews with 17 individuals, including involved students; examined several MCS policies and administrative guidelines; and analyzed pertinent case laws regarding free speech, student rights and other legal issues,” a statement from the school reads.

The school outlined a list of changes it has implemented following the incident, which includes regular listening sessions with students; a new security team; coordinated communications to address students’ concerns; a new mental health resource guide; administrative walk-throughs to address support needed by students, faculty or staff; reviews for teacher-submitted lesson plans; and an “idea and concerns” forum.

It also plans to implement the following changes:

  • Development of a written policy with regard to displaying student work in a manner to develop critical thinking skills without resulting disruptions to the educational mission or threats to the safety of MCS students, faculty, staff or administrators
  • A mental health professional will be added at MCHS through our partnership with Meridian Health Services beginning in March
  • Ongoing professional development for teachers to ensure lessons are related to instructional goals
  • A review of expectations for school security officers while providing continued training and professional development
  • Ongoing training for all staff on implicit bias and culturally responsive practices
  • A review of the faculty handbook to ensure it clearly communicates expectations for staff
  • A review of the student handbook by a committee of teachers, counselors and administrators led by Associate Supt. Reynolds to ensure behavioral expectations and consequences are clearly stated
  • A review and implementation of processes to ensure that disciplinary and behavioral issues are addressed equitably and consistently, and that resulting discipline is proportionate

The law firm’s full report is available here.

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