The superintendent of ROCORI Schools, which is currently embroiled in a lawsuit alleging it failed to address incidents of racist bullying, is resigning.
Brad Kelvington will resign from the district's top spot effective June 30, according to the school board, which approved his exit during Monday night's meeting. The meeting agenda doesn't provide any context for his resignation.
In a statement to Bring Me The News, Kelvington revealed little.
"I wish all the best to the ROCORI students, staff and community and thank them for my time as their Superintendent," he wrote. "I am pursuing other leadership opportunities."
Kelvington took the role of superintendent for the central Minnesota school district (which serves the Rockford, Cold Spring and Richmond area) ahead of the 2018-19 school year, replacing former Superintendent Scott Staska, who left after he was charged with several counts of indecent exposure.
Kelvington had been serving in the same role with Aitkin Public Schools, and prior to that spent 11 years as principal of Foley Middle School, according to an archived announcement.
Recent months have been marred by allegations of racist bullying in the district. A Cold Spring parent, Andrea Robinson, filed a civil lawsuit against the district last month, saying her Black children were the target of racist bullying and harassment by other students — and that the school district did nothing to stop it.
The bullying, she says, started in 2015-16 (before Kelvington become superintendent) but lasted through the 2020-21 school year, and occurred at both the middle school and high school. The parent had, at certain points, pulled each student from the district due to the impacts on their learning and mental health.
Robinson previously shared details of her family's struggle with racial harassment and the district's lack of response in a Facebook video on May 1, 2021, which went viral. Later that month, Robinson spoke at a Rocori School Board meeting about her family's journey with racial bullying in the district.
This spurred more harassment against the family, which came to a head when a man purposely crashed a stolen SUV into their home in Cold Spring by placing a piece of granite on the accelerator. In the SUV, there was a toy teddy bear hanging from a noose, charges allege.
Investigation finished, but most won't be made public
Last year, the school board hired an outside law firm to conduct an "independent investigation into allegations of discrimination and harassment" at district schools. During Monday's meeting, the board said that investigation is now complete, with an investigation report provided to the board for review.
Don't expect many of the conclusions to be made public, however.
The board, in a statement posted with the meeting agenda, acknowledged some people may be "eager" to hear more about "the substance of the investigation."
But the information in the report will remain classified as the aforementioned lawsuit proceeds, the statement says. Even afterward, much of the report will stay that way as it includes private personnel data or educational data regarding employees, students and families. The statement concludes:
Although the School Board cannot address the specific contents of the investigation report, we reiterate that ROCORI Schools takes the prevention of discrimination and harassment seriously. ROCORI Schools remains committed to ensuring a learning and working environment that is safe for and respectful of all students, staff, and members of our School District community. Our mission is still to ensure that ROCORI Schools are Central Minnesota’s public education standard of excellence, and we are grateful for our community members’ patience, understanding, and support, both throughout this investigation and as we continue to move forward.
In another high-profile incident, the district had to ban flags from vehicles in the parking lot ahead of the 2017-18 school year, after some students showed up the previous spring with confederate flags on their trucks.