NOBLE — More than a hundred people crowded into the small, steamy room where the Noble Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the actions of their school superintendent, which left many parents in town angry and some students embarrassed.
The Noble board decided to keep public schools Superintendent Ronda Bass on staff and create a development plan for her, after behavior that some say was inappropriate.
Bass came under fire last month when some female students say she embarrassed them in front of their peers for the way they were dressed.
Bass allegedly went to some classrooms at Noble High School on the second day of school and asked several of those students to stand up and proceeded to point out how she felt they were inappropriately dressed. Some of those students say Bass also asked them to come into the hallway, where she had them bend over, and she inspected their buttocks. They also say the day before, she called some of them into her office and asked them if they had seen any “skanks” around school.
Jennifer Fourcade, a librarian at a local elementary school and the parent of one of the students Bass allegedly disciplined, said she was shocked when her daughter described the events.
“I was blindsided,” Fourcade said. “I could not believe that someone I worked for, who is my boss, is capable of such an action of discriminating upon our children on the basis of their gender, intimidating them, using abusive language, sexually harassing them.”
Fourcade said she and other parents are calling for Bass’ dismissal from the Noble school system. She also took issue with Bass referring to herself as the ‘mama bear’ of Noble Public Schools.
“I think the title she has given herself is inappropriate, and I would think that, myself, a better title might be ... I feel that we have a wolf in sheep’s clothing in our midst, and she is barking up the wrong mama bears’ trees.”
Across the street, a small group of people, mainly children, held signs supporting Bass. Renee Haley, a 16-year educator in Noble, said Bass has been an exemplary superintendent and should stand her ground.
“All she did, she decided to enforce the written policy,” Haley said. “(The dress code) was becoming weak in the district. It has become a problem for a while now.”
After a two-hour-long executive session, the board decided to create a special development plan for Bass. By a vote of 3-1, the board decided to take possible action on the proposed plan at their next scheduled meeting.
Bass left the room immediately after the meeting, declining to comment. Board members also declined to comment or explain their decision.
Fourcade and Ada attorney Angie Dean, who was hired by a group of concerned parents, said they were disappointed in the board’s decision, adding they had lost confidence in Bass as an educator.
While no criminal charges have been filed, Dean said keeping Bass on staff leaves students open to the possibility of future harassment. She said they plan to file a formal grievance with the school district and look into filing sexual harassment charges.