Murchison Middle School principal resigns after ‘recent challenges’

Austin
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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Murchison Middle School Principal Brad Clark abruptly resigned from his position Wednesday, citing “recent challenges” at the school.

It comes a week after two students were accused of stabbing an 18-year-old high school student to death in northwest Austin. The victim, Carson Smith, was a student at Anderson High School.

Clark sent out a letter to Murchison parents saying he has decided to step down so a new leader can “bring healing to campus.” It is unknown if this situation is what Clark was referring to when he noted recent challenges in his resignation letter or the reason for his resignation.

Beth Newton was named interim principal of the middle school Thursday morning in a letter to parents from the Austin Independent School District. Newton will start work in her new role on Monday, Feb. 11. “A principal’s coffee event will be scheduled for Monday, February 11th at 4:15 p.m. in the cafeteria to allow parents and community members to meet with Mrs. Newton and hear about her plans for the rest of the year,” officials wrote in a letter to parents. 

The school is hosting a parent meeting on campus at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to answer questions.

Read the letter from Clark announcing his resignation below:

Matadors,

Given the most recent challenges with which we have been faced as a learning community, I have decided to step down as principal of Murchison Middle School, so that a new leader can bring healing to our campus. Our partnership has been meaningful and successful, but I believe a new direction will be in the best interest of everyone. I have loved serving you all and having the opportunity to work with your amazing children every day. Thank you for all you have done to support me and Murchison Middle School.

Sincerely,

Brad Clark

The past semester has been fraught with issues at Murchison Middle School as evidenced by a series of letters sent to parents since October. 

  • On Oct. 7, Clark wrote about a series of fights on campus prearranged by students on social media. 
  • On Nov. 4, he wrote about a national practice of students crushing Smarties and snorting them through their nose that was happening at Murchison. 
  • On Dec. 3, Clark wrote that a student was taken to the hospital after a fall from a second-story balcony on campus.
  • The next day, Dec. 4, he wrote about a student who brought an airsoft gun to school.
  • On Jan. 26, Clark sent a letter about an “incident” involving students that APD is investigating. We later learned that letter referenced the two Murchison students charged with murdering Anderson High student Carson Smith. 

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