Dr. Ralph Plagman, the principal of Cedar Rapids Washington for the past 35 years, has resigned his position at the school. In an email circulated to families of Washington students, Plagman says that his retirement comes at the request of the Cedar Rapids Community School District after his handling of inappropriate conduct involving a substitute teacher being charged with sexual exploitation last school year.
In the email, Plagman notes that his leave will take effect on August 3, 2016. He states that he has been consulted with “professionals with particular expertise in school law,” who advised that he did nothing wrong in his handling of the scandal.
“The safety and best interests of all students and staff members have always been my top priority, and I have never, in my 49-year career with the District, done anything to jeopardize that. As much as I love my job, I cannot continue without the support of the district.”
The Cedar Rapids Community School District has not commented on a replacement for Dr. Plagman, and no news alert has been placed on their website, nor has the position been listed on their employment page.
The inappropriate conduct incident involved Mary Haglin, 24, a substitute teacher who was charged with sexual exploitation. After an investigation, Haglin was removed from her position, but later was inadvertently allowed back into a classroom in an elementary school. The district told KCRG in June that this was allowed due to a miscommunication, and no issues had arisen from Haglin working briefly at the elementary school.
A petition has begun to circulate online requesting that Dr. Plagman be reinstated as principal at CR Washington. According to the site Change.org, the petition was started by someone identified as Courtney Courtright, and at publication has garnered more than 2,000 signatures.
In addition to the online petition, Washington High students Devon O’Donnell and Riley DeWolf have organized a rally for today at 4 p.m. at Washington High School in support of Dr. Plagman.