Walters requests, receives continuance to May 8

Principal’s attorney says Walters ‘denies any wrongdoing of any sort’

By Kari Williams

Point Elementary School Principal Jim Walters’ court hearing scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday on allegations of lewd and indecent conduct has been continued to May 8.

Walters’ attorney, Neil Bruntrager, told the Call while he cannot comment on the facts of the case, a continuance is a “routine thing.”

Bruntrager said Walters “denies any wrongdoing of any sort” and that he does not expect anything to happen at the next court date.

St. Louis Municipal Court Judge James Wahl said Bruntrager asked for the continuance. Bruntrager confirmed the continuance request Tuesday afternoon.

Mehlville Superintendent Eric Knost told the Call the continuance was a surprise to him.

“No one has explained the reasoning behind why it was postponed or continued …,” Knost said. “It doesn’t really change much as far as what we’re doing. We’re still involved in our investigation. We’re still intent on getting to the bottom of it and figuring out how to get beyond the whole issue.”

Walters was issued a citation by park security at about 3 p.m. March 16 near Concourse and McKinley in Forest Park for allegedly grabbing his genitals “while talking to a person in his vehicle, who later confessed to what was happening,” the citation states.

Walters has not returned to Point Elementary School since the district resumed classes after spring break. Knost chose retired Principal Jim Schibig to substitute for Walters while the district investigates the allegations against Walters.

Walters remains on paid administrative leave, according to Knost. The superintendent also told the Call that the atmosphere at Point Elementary is “great,” and that Schibig informed the district he “is available through the end of the school year.”

Knost said Schibig is not at Point Elementary for a “defined length” of time, but rather week to week.

The Sunday before students returned to school, Knost met with Point Elementary School teachers and parents to introduce the Point community to Schibig, as well as to discuss returning to school — not to discuss Walters.

District officials were notified March 19 of the allegations against Walters. Knost sent a letter to parents March 20, which stated “… The principal will not return to Point Elementary unless and until the district determines that to do so is appropriate and safe for all students.”

The letter also stated, “… Our current understanding is that the principal was not charged with a crime and disputes some, if not all, of the allegations. Nevertheless, the district is, and will be, thoroughly investigating these allegations.”

Walters has served as the Point Elementary School principal since July 1, 2007.

Before coming to the Mehlville School District, he served as principal of Bayless Intermediate School in the Bayless School District for three years.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at noon Wednesday, April 25, to include comments from Superintendent Eric Knost.