Ind. adviser fired after yearbook's pregnancy section sparks controversy

INDIANA — The C. A. Beard Memorial School Corporationofficially fired the Knightstown High School yearbook and newspaper adviser lastweek following controversy over including a section in the yearbook aboutpregnant students.

But Principal Scott Ritchie said the incident was only one of severalthings that led to the firing of K.C. Salter, who has been the yearbook adviserat Knightstown for nine years.

Ritchie said that a pregnant student was upset that a yearbook staff memberhad come into a classroom to take a picture of her. The staffer also told thepregnant student that she needed the name of the baby’s father so shecould get a picture of him too, he said.

But Salter said the situation, which happened about three months ago, hasbeen exaggerated and the staff was not trying to embarrass anyone or match upmothers and fathers. He said nothing specific was planned yet and the reporterwas only trying to find other students to talk to and photograph.

“I would never go that direction,” he said. “That wouldbe irresponsible of an adviser to even suggest that.”

Yearbook staffers had the idea to cover the school’s pregnancyproblem and had only started brainstorming ideas, Salter said. He tookresponsibility for the staffer’s actions.

“I thought I was clear with the student, and she was a littleoverzealous,” he said.

Ritchie said he was fine with the students covering the school’s teenpregnancy problem, but was concerned about how the staff member demonstrated alack of training in handling the situation.

“They did a pregnancy piece in our newspaper earlier thisyear,” he said. “It was very well done and wellwritten.”

The yearbook incident was not the only reason Salter was fired, Ritchiesaid. He cited poor performance with classroom management, discipline andquality, but declined to comment further publicly. Declining quality of theyearbook and newspaper was part of that, he said.

“This is one small piece of the puzzle that got us here,”Ritchie said, referring to the yearbook controversy. “If this is all wehad, I don’t know if we would be to this point right now.”

Salter acknowledged that the quality of the yearbook and newspaper was notup to what the administration wanted. But he said after Ritchie asked him torestart the newspaper two years ago, he felt he had inadequate time andresources to do both.

The district has started looking for a replacement for next year but hasallowed Salter to stay for the rest of the school year, Ritchie said.

Salter said he plans to challenge his firing because he does not think thedistrict followed proper procedures leading up to last week’sdecision.