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Longfellow principal resigns, denies it is connected to counselor scandal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The top administrator at the Longfellow alternative school has resigned from his position, according to IPS district records.

But in an interview with I-Team 8, Longfellow coordinator Mark Cosand says he resigned for “medical reasons” and denies that his resignation was connected to the fallout or scandal associated with ex-school counselor Shana Taylor, who is charged with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 17-year old student at the Indianapolis alternative school.

Taylor, 37, is facing 10 felony charges related to her alleged months-long relationship with the student.

Cosand also denies that his resignation was tied to administrators’ failure to make a timely report to authorities about the allegations, which is required by both state law and the district’s own policies.

“There were a lot of people that knew about the situation before I did,” Cosand said. “That miscommunication was that everyone else assumed it had been done.”

IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee blasted administrators during a news conference in early March for failing to report the allegations to authorities until six days after the allegations were brought to the attention of school administrators.

Court records show that the student’s mother brought the allegations and evidence of a relationship with Taylor to the school’s assistant principal on Feb. 17. Cosand says he was on sick leave at the time and did not return until Feb. 18 to ensure that Taylor did not return to the school building.

Instead, Cosand said, he referred Taylor to human resources.

Cosand said he was contacted by the district’s human resources director on Feb. 22 that a report needed to be made with police and the Department of Child Services, which is required by law and the district’s policy.

Cosand said he was unable to access his work computer until the early morning hours of Feb. 23. By then, authorities had begun their investigation. Taylor was arrested later that week.

“We weren’t trying to do anything criminal; things just slipped,” Cosand said during an interview with I-Team 8’s Bennett Haeberle. “All it takes is that one slip to break that trust. That’s not who any of us are. That’s not what we wanted to do. We just want to start rebuilding that trust.”

Cosand said he suffered a stroke in January and was unable to fulfill his duties as an administrator. He denies that his resignation had anything to do with Taylor.

When asked if he feared repercussions, Cosand said: “The prosecutor is going to do what the prosecutor is going to do, and if that happens they should look at the other folks, too. Not just me and my assistant principal.”

An IPS spokeswoman referred questions about the standings of administrators’ job status to online district records.

Taylor is due back in court in May.

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