I was at a Lame Deer School Board meeting that had “termination hearing for high school Principal Steve Ewing” on the agenda. What I witnessed was an attempted power play to remove the principal with frivolous complaints from three witnesses, and one of their complaints was having to show up on time for duty. These non-Indians seem to have integrated themselves into the so-called “Indian Time.” When I coach kids, I tell them that there is no such thing as Indian Time, never has been! Unfortunately, there are those who think otherwise.
The principal was denied due process from the get-go. There was violation of policy that has carried over from the last administration (three years), where there were numerous violations. The time during the previous administration was an absolute worst time for the school district and the end result was the school almost losing its accreditation. Where were the three witnesses that testified on behalf of the superintendent, during this period when problems/issues abounded? None of the witnesses even uttered a peep during this time. One of them got into a verbal altercation with the then superintendent; it was so loud that it was heard by many in the school, including students in the hallways.
During a break in the meeting right after the superintendent rested his case and the principal was preparing his rebuttal, I raised my hand and the chair recognized me. I then stood up and made reference to a statement made by the superintendent, discussing an issue by stating it was not done until the chairman wrote a letter, at which time I made reference to Policy No. 1240: “Trustees shall not assume responsibilities of administration or other staff members.” I asked the chair what policy gave him the authority to write the letter — or did the superintendent relinquish his authority? The chair stated that he had the authority to write the letter. I asked him to show me the policy that gave him that authority. He said: “You are not a witness,” and directed me to sit down. So much for Policy No. 1441: Audience Participation. Need I say more on adhering to policy?
Kudos to our tribal president who was in attendance, along with some council members and some students, all in support of the principal.