Return of Point Elementary School students goes off ‘without a hiccup,’ Knost tells Call

District officials investigating allegations against principal

By Kari Williams

The first week back from spring break went off “without a hiccup” at Point Elementary School, according to Superintendent Eric Knost.

Retired Principal Jim Schibig is substituting for Principal Jim Walters while district officials investigate allegations of lewd and indecent conduct against Walters.

“Obviously, it isn’t the same because we know this whole thing is pending, and Dr. Walters isn’t there … but it’s played through exactly as I intended,” Knost told the Call.

Knost visited Point Friday morning and said the school has had a “fabulous week.”

“It’s just going remarkably well,” he said. “I had a whole bunch of emails that were all positive on Monday, which I had emails one way or the other consistently from Monday all the way back to the following Monday, and phone calls, and then after Monday I had nothing — either way.”

The district accomplished what it set out to this week, according to Knost, by giving students “the most normal possible week back.”

Knost chose Schibig as the elementary school’s substitute principal last week, before a March 25 meeting attended by roughly 200 parents and staff.

“My intention with putting Jim Schibig there was because you have to have somebody that understands the situations and understands emotion with children, staff (and) parents,” Knost said, “and then potentially people from the outside wanting to know what’s going on … and you can’t put an inexperienced administrator into that position.”

Knost said school has been as normal as any other day, minus Walters not being in the building.

“I just knew — and I sensed this on Sunday (March 25) at the meeting — Jim Schibig’s experience and his personality just brought a calm to it,” Knost said.

Schibig, who was introduced to the Point community at the March 25 meeting, said he does not expect the environment at the school to change.

“I don’t anticipate a whole lot of change. The staff is very, very excellent with the kids and all the classrooms are engaged in learning … I think it will continue,” he said.

Knost said he informed Walters about the parent meeting and Schibig’s selection as Point’s substitute principal.

“He (Walters) knows how much Jim Schibig’s loved in this district by parents and community members,” Knost said, “and I think that says something for Jim Walters that he’s excited that Jim Schibig is the one that’s steering the ship in his absence.”

As far as the investigation into the allegations against Walters, Knost said he would like to have some direction by next week.

“There’s just nothing new, not of any significance … It’s just a lot of conversation, and seeing how some things are playing out,” Knost said.

Walters was issued a summons March 16 in Forest Park, which stated, “I observed Walters grab his genitales (sic) while talking to a person in his vehicle who later confessed to what was happening.”

Knost stated in a March 20 letter to parents that Walters will not return to school until “the district determines that to do so is appropriate and safe for all students.”