"I am stunned and nearly in tears," says Ingraham PTSA legislative co-chair Deborah Niedermeyer, one of the Ingraham parents who led the campaign to reinstate Floe. "All this work and it worked. What a brave thing for Enfield to do."
Enfield isn't giving interviews to the press today and Floe didn't return calls for comment immediately.
Enfield made the announcement just a few hours before she was scheduled to meet with the Ingraham community to discuss Floe's firing at 6:30 p.m. today. That meeting has been canceled, but Ingraham PTSA President Cindy Nevins says that the community might still gather at the school to celebrate. "Maybe have a party in the lawn," she says laughing.
So what made Enfield change her mind suddenly? When she announced her decision to fire Floe a week ago, she said little more than that the school will benefit from new leadership. In her email to the Ingraham community today, Enfield remained unapologetic about her initial statement, explaining that "the work my team completed over many months leading up to my initial decision not to renew Mr. Floe’s contract was, and is, solid."
But she acknowledged that after listening to the concerns of Ingraham staff, students, and parents and witnessing "the turmoil this situation had created," she was ready to give Floe another chance. "I think part of the issue was that the entire procedure somehow left out the community factor," says Niedermeyer.
Both Niedermeyer and Nevins think that the community outrage also contributed to Enfield changing her mind. Not only did the Ingraham community manage to get over 1,100 "friends" for their Friends of Martin Floe Facebook page, they emailed school board members, held rallies, collected signatures for a petition and was set to protest at the school board meeting Wednesday.
Floe had near-unanimous support from Ingraham teachers as well as parents. Other schools were also crafting resolutions to reinstate him. "Once she [Enfield] had all the facts, she made an informed decision," Nevins says. "I think based on all the data that came out, we still have work to do at Ingraham."