The Kenosha County Human Services Department is investigating a complaint against Racine Unified Superintendent Lolli Haws, Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig confirmed this week.
Ladwig declined to explain what the complaint is about, saying he could not comment because it involves juveniles and because the corresponding investigation is “active.”
The complaint was originally made with the Racine County Human Services Department but was transferred to Kenosha “due to our partnership with Racine Unified and the potential conflict of interest,” Ladwig said.
Ron Rogers, director of the Kenosha County Human Services Department’s Division of Children and Family Services, said he could not confirm or deny if a complaint was forwarded or if an investigation is ongoing. Kenosha County Chief of Staff Jennie Tunkieicz also said she could not confirm or deny anything.
When asked for comment, Haws replied in an email that she had been substitute teaching a group of first-graders at Knapp Elementary School last month.
“There were a few difficult moments in the classroom that day, and it demonstrated to me the need for proper staffing levels and manageable class sizes. The lesson that we should all take away from this is that it will take the support and involvement of the entire school community if we are going to be more successful in our classrooms,” she wrote.
She wrote that while the experience was challenging, it “reinforced my confidence in the ability of our teachers and our students to achieve great results in the classroom.”
“Visiting classrooms is one way for me to better understand how we can support our teachers in helping students so we can raise the performance for students and everyone who makes up the Racine Unified School District,” Haws wrote.
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Racine Education Association teachers union president Jennifer Levie declined to say what the incident was or when it happened.
Instead she gave the following statement: “Our members have been asking me about the situation at Knapp and the district has confirmed that they are looking into what happened that day. I have communicated to the School Board president that the REA is concerned about the safety of our children and I asked him to oversee any investigation to ensure due process.”
Asked to be more specific about any child safety concerns, Levie said, “As educators we are committed to ensuring that every child is safe and is in a safe learning environment, and we want to make sure that if there was any wrongdoing at Knapp that there is due process and just cause.”
The School Board released a statement saying, “We are aware of the pending investigation against Dr. Haws and we are fully cooperating with the process. We cannot provide any further information at this time.”
The board drafted the statement during a closed session meeting May 8, board President Dennis Wiser said.
Knapp Principal Chelsia Stallworth declined to comment on any allegations involving Haws and her school.
“It gets real messy and I don’t want a part of that and no one else wants a part of that,” she said, adding she told her staff not to talk to The Journal Times. Other Knapp staff members contacted by the newspaper either declined to comment or did not return calls.