Monroe schools superintendent on leave, under investigation

There is a strong reaction to the news that the Monroe schools superintendent has been placed on leave. Now parents want to know how the district will address issues of racism and discrimination.

Superintendent Justin Blasko was placed on leave for allegedly ignoring complaints about racism and discrimination in the school district.

The news was shocking even to his fiercest critics, who listened in to last Monday’s school board meeting and thought members fully supported the superintendent. But that changed Saturday night!

“My phone started blowing up last night,” said parent Heather Young. “I was, you could have knocked me over with a feather.”

She couldn’t stop smiling even after a day of getting the news that Dr. Justin Blasko, superintendent of Monroe School District, was placed on leave and under investigation.

“Just extraordinarily grateful and hopeful again,” she said.

The school district has been on edge since this video outside Monroe High School surfaced in November — a student was seen using the N-word twice during a dispute with a Black student.

Then last Monday, students walked out of the high school in protest. But critics, including the teachers union president, say there are numerous unresolved issues.

“It’s not just racist hate acts,” said Robyn Hayashi, president of the Monroe Education Association. “It’s across various different groups.”

That includes disabled teachers and students, like Heather Young’s sons. She says the school district has offered no training for how to safely evacuate them if necessary.

“This is a civil right,” Young said. “The fact that they are being excluded because of their disability is a violation of their civil right.”

That led her to create a petition that now has more than 1,300 signatures, a school community united in demanding change at the top.

“I think that because of the length of time that the trust has been eroded,” said Young, “that it would be very difficult for him to continue in an effective way.”

KIRO 7 doesn’t know if this is the first step toward Blasko’s dismissal because the school board has not responded to emails or phone calls.

What is known is that Blasko will remain on leave while a third party investigates.