Smithville High School students are taking signs to the streets and mounting posts on social media in support of Principal Rudy Papenfuhs, who was put on leave and students say is being punished for kindness.
“What did he ever do wrong?” read just one of many Twitter comments under #freepappy. “From what I’m hearing (it’s) just him being a nice man which we need more of!”
Papenfuhs was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday by the district, which published a long list of violations of district policies that are meant to protect students and staff from inappropriate relationships.
The district’s complaint includes statements that Papenfuhs provided a student with prescribed medications, took a student to a Chiefs football game without a parent or guardian present, allowed a student to drive his car, bought a car for a student, shared a sexually explicit video with a student and texted a student with a comment, “There is nothing I don’t love about you ...”
Papenfuhs has not returned a request for comment from The Star. The district has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 16 for the principal to argue against his dismissal.
Papenfuhs a year ago was issued a written reprimand after the district said he told “an inappropriate and sexually explicit joke” to six male students during a lunch period.