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Manual High principal says he resigned over 'trauma'

On the same day former-principal Nick Dawkins told 9NEWS he resigned because of "trauma" related to several incidents over the last year, DPS said he was going to be placed on leave.
Nick Dawkins

Nick Dawkins, the much-celebrated principal at Manual High School, is revealing to 9Wants to Know why he decided to resign from his position in the middle of this school year.

Dawkins listed off a series of “traumatic” incidents at the school over the last year, including the Confederate flag controversy involving Weld County students, the deaths of two Manual students, a gun found on campus, and violence in the neighborhood surrounding the school.

“I feel like I’ve been sacrificed in some ways. The threats on me and the racial attacks and the toll from the violence in the neighborhood. All those things impacted my family,” Dawkins told 9NEWS reporter Jeremy Jojola over the phone.

Dawkins also said the district didn’t provide “adequate” mental health support for school leaders in the wake of the incidents.

Then recently, Dawkins said he learned he was facing allegations of a “hostile work environment.”

“I decided I would not put them (his family) through another period of anxiety,” Dawkins said.

Exactly who is making the allegations is unclear.

A letter from the assistant superintendent of Denver Public Schools, Nicole Veltze, was posted to the Manual High School website on Tuesday. In it, Veltze writes that while Dawkins was not asked to resign, his departure came just before he would have been placed on leave because of the complaints made against him.

When DPS administrators announced Dawkins' resignation in an email last week, they praised the principal for his leadership.

“In his time as school leader, our students have shown strong progress in performance, jumping two levels on the School Performance Framework in just one year. More than 90 percent of our students report being satisfied with their experience in school,” Superintendent Tom Boasberg said.

Dawkins told 9WTK that he would be open to returning to the school, depending on what’s negotiated. Also in the letter, Veltze said the district has had no indication that Dawkins wants to withdraw his resignation.

An independent firm will take over the investigation into the allegations made against Hawkins, Veltze writes. She says there was public concern about the district handling it themselves.

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