D65 principal cleared, racism charges dropped

Nomaan Merchant

An independent investigator hired by Evanston/Skokie School District 65 absolved Dewey Elementary School principal Andrew Krugly of racial discrimination charges Tuesday.

In a May 2005 School Board meeting, several black parents and the Evanston National Association for the Advancement of Colored People accused Krugly of discriminating against black students and not hiring enough black teachers. One parent also accused Krugly of physically abusing a black child.

But after a six-month investigation, the law firm of Franczek Sullivan concluded that the charges were unfounded.

“We are confident that a thorough investigation of the allegations was conducted and that they were not supported by the evidence,” Superintendent Hardy Murphy said in a district press release.

Krugly expressed a desire to move forward from the charges.

“I’m very relieved that this is resolved and I’m looking forward to focusing on the kids here at school,” Krugly said.

Some black parents accused Krugly in May of verbally abusing their children. Krugly denied these allegations.

“The first I heard of that was in the newspaper,” Krugly said.

Some parents originally expressed concern at a perceived lack of black teachers, including the dismissal of one black teacher in April.

“I had to reduce my staff by two people,” Krugly said. “I made my decision based on what was best for the school.”

The original accusations sparked several changes at Dewey, 1551 Wesley Ave., to foster better communication between Krugly and parents. The school moved some evening meetings to mornings to accommodate parents and has made an effort to “bring more people into the building,” Krugly said. Dewey now holds informal morning coffees with parents four times a year.

Parents say the changes have strongly benefitted the school environment.

Stephan Collins, the father of a third-grader at Dewey, criticized Krugly’s “lack of social skills” last May but now says the principal has “greatly improved.”

“Mr. Krugly has come to realize his faults and as a head administrator, he’s acted very responsibly in correcting the problem,” Collins said.

Dewey PTA president Tracy Quattrocki, a mother of three Dewey students, stressed the importance of open communication between Krugly and parents.

“I was saddened by the fact that (the allegations) happened in a public way,” Quattrocki said.

Former PTA president Katie Bailey, who has four children who attended Dewey, said Krugly has made improvements that were necessary even before the allegations.

“He’s made some changes that had to be done regardless of whether he was guilty,” Bailey said.

According to Collins, the initiatives undertaken by the school after the allegations have had a positive effect on Dewey.

“The school feels good,” Collins said. “There’s a changed air. It’s definitely one that’s more open.”

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