EDUCATION & SCHOOLS

Weber High principal retires as Weber School District finishes investigation into complaints

Sep 28, 2023, 10:21 AM | Updated: 10:23 am

Weber High School file photo...

Complaints that led to Weber High School’s principal being placed on administrative leave are related to how she investigated allegations of inappropriate football recruiting, the district said Thursday. (Kristen Murphy/ Deseret news)

(Kristen Murphy/ Deseret news)

PLEASANT VIEW — Weber High School Principal Chris Earnest has announced her retirement as the Weber School District concluded an investigation into complaints involving her.

The district placed Earnest on paid administrative leave while it investigated complaints related to how she investigated allegations concerning inappropriate recruiting in the school’s football program.

The initial complaint, received before the start of the school year, alleged that one or more players had been recruited from the Davis School District by Weber High School assistant coaches. It was determined that a coach at Weber High “exercised undue influence in the recruitment of players” and the district fired Zac Connors, the team’s offensive coordinator, on Sept. 1. Connors was considered by the district as an “at-will employee,” meaning they could be dismissed at any time.

District officials said Earnest was tasked with initially investigating the recruiting allegations and, if necessary, taking appropriate administrative action.

“At the conclusion of her investigation, Weber School District officials received complaints over how the investigation was handled by Ms. Earnest,” read an Aug. 31 statement from the district. “To ensure that WSD policies and procedures were properly followed, district officials initiated a follow-up investigation. … During the course of the investigation, other allegations of unprofessional conduct and potential violations of District policies were brought to the District’s attention.”

“There were some concerns and questions whether or not that school-level investigation was conducted properly and if the appropriate action was taken that needed to happen,” district spokesperson Lane Findlay told KSL.com.

During the course of the district’s investigation into those complaints, Earnest, through her attorney, notified the district that she would be retiring, effective immediately.

“While this investigation took longer than the district would have liked, it was necessary to follow through with the complaints that the district received,” district officials said. “Anything less than following through with reports would have resulted in an incomplete investigation. Consequently, the investigation did take time, and the district recognizes the stress this placed on Ms Earnest. … Because Ms. Earnest chose to retire, there is nothing further for the district to do.

“The district wishes to thank Ms. Earnest for her 31 years of dedicated service as a teacher and school administrator in Weber School District. The district will now focus on filling the vacancy left by her retirement.  Pending administrative changes are expected to take place at the school over the next couple of weeks.”

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Weber High principal retires as Weber School District finishes investigation into complaints