UPDATE: Elkton School Board rejects resignation offer from superintendent

May 2, 2024

ELKTON, S.D.–The Elkton School Board met this week to consider the resignations of teacher Taylor Thompson and Superintendent Brian Jandahl.

It stems from their decision to allow a register sex offender named Andrew Polly to speak at the school.

Some parents attending Wednesday’s meeting spoke out in support of Jandahl by saying the incident has been blown out of proportion.

But others say Jandahl and Thompson need to be held accountable for their mistake.

Applause could be heard after the first three speakers showed support for Jandahl, and when a staff member spoke on behalf of the Elkton Public School employees, they stood up in solidarity with the speaker.

Public comment began with speakers who praised the character of Brian Jandahl.

“Brian’s a good man. And he decided to put in his resignation basically to take the heat off of everybody else, including you,” one attendee commented.

Some parents still believe the school district withheld information surrounding the visit by Polly.

One woman spoke on behalf of a few other parents, saying Polly had visited the school last year and information was withheld from parents. She spoke on behalf of other parents because of their fear of retaliation. She left a letter in appreciation of the staff member who reported the sex offender but continued to say that Jandahl and Thompson needed to be held accountable for the mistake.

She pointed to posts on Facebook that showed Thompson with Polly last year and said that she reported it to Kevin Murfield, the investigations sergeant for the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office.

“Why was the March 2023 incident not reported to the authorities when it was brought to the administration’s attention? Was it the principal’s responsibility to report that as well? Because she didn’t,” the parent said.

The school board voted to accept Thompson’s resignation, but rejected accepting Jandahl’s resignation.

“Our staff is not perfect. Our board is not perfect. And certainly, the public is not perfect either,” one board member said. “As a board member up here today, I apologize to the public. As well as to the staff of the school. With no policy in place, the checks and balances weren’t there for the administration to review the credentials of Mr. Polly.”

“This school is the lifeblood of this community,” said the board member. “I encourage the board and the community to ensure we are providing the support that our staff and administration need to make decisions and take action without fear of criticism and discipline for any misstep.”

Jandahl said he plans to retire after the 2024-25 school year.