Melissa Dawson had concerns about Arleta K-8 principal Diana Kruger even before the start of school.
Her daughter ended up in a blended third and fourth-grade classroom, and Dawson said she was misled when trying to find answers about why her daughter was in the classroom.
“That was my first red flag with Diana Kruger,” Dawson said.
It was the same classroom where last Monday, a third-grader ingested crack cocaine that they had been given by another student.
More than 50 Arleta parents have sent emails to Portland district leaders, calling for Kruger to be placed on administrative leave. They say she mishandled the emergency response to Monday’s incident. The parents say Kruger did not call 911 or poison control after the child ate the crack cocaine because the student didn’t show signs of distress.
In a statement to Arleta parents after the incident, Kruger said she called the district central office and Portland Police after the incident. The student was monitored by a “health assistant until their family could arrive,” Kruger said.
But parents said they’ve been sharing their concerns with Kruger for months before the incident even happened.
“The crack cocaine incident is just the tipping point in this whole situation – this unfortunate situation,” Dawson said.
Four parents testified at Tuesday’s Portland Public Schools board meeting. But a crowd of parents wearing Arleta school shirts sat in support during the meeting’s public comment session – and walked out after it ended.
“Parents of students from kindergarten through eighth grade describe poor communication, administrative chaos, equity issues, and an overall breakdown of systems and protocol,” read a statement from the parents shared Tuesday.
Kruger became interim principal at Arleta in 2018 and became permanent last May.
“When we have tried separately to address these troubling issues with multiple levels of PPS administration, we have been unable to obtain meaningful response and action,” one parent said.
The district has not communicated whether Kruger is on administrative leave. She has not been at the school, and PPS has had a retired school principal on campus providing “administrative leadership support.”
PPS is investigating the incident.