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Local News

Arkansas school board votes to oust former SD308 school chief

Former SD308 Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt was fired from his position as superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Monday after an investigation was conducted into a sexual harassment complaint filed against him.
Former SD308 Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt was fired from his position as superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Monday after an investigation was conducted into a sexual harassment complaint filed against him.

More than two months after a sexual harassment complaint was filed against him, former SD308 Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt has been fired from his position as superintendent of Fayetteville Public Schools in Fayetteville, AR.

In a special meeting Monday, June 11, the Fayetteville Board of Education voted unanimously to terminate Wendt's contract with the district. Wendt's termination was effective immediately.

Board President Justin Eichmann read a statement at the meeting, regarding the board's vote.

"On behalf of the Fayetteville Board of Education, I would like to express our deep disappointment in the actions that have led to the termination of Dr. Wendt’s employment as Superintendent of the Fayetteville School District," Eichmann said.

“The Fayetteville School District expects, and will continue to expect, that our district workplace is a safe, appropriate, and professional environment for all employees at all times. In the near future, we will focus our efforts to make sure that this expectation is a top priority from top to bottom throughout the district. We will work with the community and engage our stakeholders to ensure trust."

Eichmann noted that all district employees are subject to district policies. He continued, "Likewise, the due process and protections afforded to every district employee must be observed in all instances. For these reasons, the district conducted this process as it would for any employee. The protection of employee confidentiality and the provision of due process with regard to employment discipline are required by our policies and by law.

“Throughout such a process, while the district maintains confidentiality in order to protect the rights of employees, there can be wandering speculation that may be damaging to certain individuals who, through absolutely no fault of their own, then become a target. Such speculation is wrong and harmful, and there must be a basic level of decency and respect afforded to any person who is a bystander to this matter," Eichmann said.

The complaint was filed against Wendt in early April by a Fayetteville schools employee. During the investigation, Wendt continued to perform his duties as superintendent. A report in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette stated that the Fayetteville School Board had hired an attorney to advise the board while the complaint was investigated.

Wendt served as superintendent of SD308 from 2012 to 2016.

SD308 Director of Communications and Public Relations Theresa Komitas confirmed the district "has no record of allegations, complaints, or investigations in the personnel file of former Superintendent Dr. Matthew Wendt."

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