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CSD names interim high school principal, hires firm to evaluate racial slur incident involving teacher

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CSD names interim high school principal, hires firm to evaluate racial slur incident involving teacher

Decatur High School, City Schools of Decatur, N McDonough Street.

This story has been updated. 

By Zoe Seiler and Dan Whisenhunt 

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur has appointed Duane Sprull as the interim principal at Decatur High School and hired an independent contractor to assess the district’s response to a teacher who used a racist slur in the classroom.

As first reported in Decaturish, a white male Decatur High teacher was recently disciplined following his use of a racial slur in front of students. The Decatur High students have pushed for more accountability. Students held a walkout on Dec. 16 and a community town hall soon after.

Rochelle Lofstrand has been reassigned pending the outcome of the district’s review of the incident, according to a letter Superintendent Maggie Fehrman sent to the DHS community on Jan. 4. The district did not provide the letter or any information about what happened when Decaturish asked about it on Jan. 5.

“I want to let the DHS Staff, Students, and Families know we have heard you. A great deal has already been learned from the situation in December when a DHS teacher used a racial slur, and we know we still have much learning and growth ahead of us to ensure trust is restored and harm is repaired,” Fehrman wrote in the letter. “A third-party contractor has been engaged to evaluate all aspects of the incident. I also acknowledge that space is needed for those harmed to participate freely in the evaluation and upcoming conversations.”

The teacher involved has also been reassigned during the review.

“The third-party consultant will evaluate the response of the school and district, review processes and procedures, and conduct restorative sessions with students and staff to help our district heal,” Fehrman said. “The contractor will also collaborate with district leadership on putting a clear process in place that will not only streamline the process for reporting racially biased events, but will also provide a clear response protocol for our leaders to follow. More information about the timeline and action steps will be communicated soon.”

According to an email obtained by Decaturish, CSD has hired Courtlandt Butts to conduct the review.

Sprull was previously the career and technical education director at City Schools of Decatur, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In the Decatur High School weekly newsletter, Sprull said, “It is my pleasure to take up the role of Interim Principal at Decatur High School.”

Here is his full message to the community.

Dear Decatur High School Community,

It is my pleasure to take up the role of Interim Principal at Decatur High School. I look forward to getting to know you and working together to ensure a successful school year. I deeply desire the success of our students, teachers, and school district as both a CSD parent and employee. Since 2007 I have been the Career, Technical, Agricultural Education (CTAE) Director and Decatur Career Academy (DCA) Director for the City Schools of Decatur (CSD). I have served in education since 1998 as a teacher, central office administrator, and building-level administrator.

My primary goals are to ensure that all students are encouraged and supported, that all staff are committed to providing a quality education, and that our community remains united by common values.

I am committed to building a strong relationship of trust with all stakeholders in the school. Working together, I am confident that we will achieve positive results and create a learning environment that is safe, stimulating, and supportive.


Duane Sprull

Interim Principal

Phil Cuffey, co-chair of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, asked for Lofstrand to be reassigned following a recent controversy involving a teacher using a racial slur. The group also asked for the teacher to be reassigned. Beacon Hill requested an independent investigation. The DHS Black Affinity group made these requests as well.

This story will be updated when more information is available. 

Decatur High School Principal Rochelle Lofstrand speaks during the Decatur High School Army JROTC 20th annual September 11 Remembrance Ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 9. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Students at Decatur High School staged a walkout on Friday Dec. 16, 2022, demanding action after a teacher used a slur in front of students. Photo by Dean Hesse.

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