Parents rally around suspended preschool teacher

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Parents of preschoolers at Wilkinson Early Childhood Center are devastated that an award-winning teacher is getting fired, and are not afraid to voice their frustrations at St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams.

Kelly Hahn was awarded ‘Pre-K Teacher of the Year’ on November 19. Fifteen days later, she was put on administrative leave.

Parents said their kids came home crying every day, wondering where she went. Some kids even thought Mrs. Hahn had cancer.

According to the parents, the reason she’s being fired has them boiling mad.

Adams held a meeting at the Humbolt Academy of Higher Learning to discuss his transformation plan for the district, which includes partnering with families, and empowering teachers. But Wilkinson families found that message hypocritical because their favorite, award-winning teacher is being fired.

According to the letter Hahn received from the district, she’s being fired for child neglect and endangerment.

Parents determined the only instance SLPS could possibly be referring to is when a three-year-old was accidentally sent to school in a pull-up diaper, which isn’t allowed. When Hahn discovered the diaper, she left it on the child and immediately notified the parent, instead of removing the diaper right away. Another staff member called the Missouri Department of Family Services.

The DFS did not find any indication of neglect, but Superintendent Adams said the school system has different standards.

‘‘That’s the handcuffs that we have relating to personnel, we cannot discuss specific personnel issues,” Adams said.

Parents said Mrs. Hahn’s substitute isn’t even a certified teacher. And many of the parents have threatened to leave the magnet school unless she’s reinstated.

‘‘I just want what`s best for her, what’s best for my kids. And what’s best for him is having his teacher back. She loves those kids, and there’s no substitute for that,” said Sue Gilmor, a parent.

A hearing on Hahn’s case is set for March 4.

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