UPDATE (03/14/2023): Nathan Tuttle was fired on March 14 following a vote by the school’s board to remove him from his position. Details here.


INDIANAPOLIS — On Tuesday night, a special school board meeting took place after the CEO of an Indianapolis Public Schools charter school was placed on administrative leave.

Nathan Tuttle is accused of using the “n-word” in front of students at Edison School of the Arts.

The sole purpose of the over 2-hour meeting was to hear public comment regarding the ongoing investigation into Tuttle. 

“How ’bout your CEO? Why doesn’t he use nice words? Why isn’t he kind to his students, to his staff, to his parents…” said one parent at the board meeting.

Former Edison teacher Renee Erler said she left the school after just one year of teaching because of her experience working for Tuttle.

“When I heard what happened at Edison recently, it wasn’t surprising because he made a lot of very racially insensitive and sexually insensitive comments throughout the school year that made me uncomfortable and was the reason I ended up filing a complaint,” Erler said.

School board member, Ernest Britton, said Tuttle was not calling a student the “n-word” but only reprimanding a child after he said the word. 

“I hear the boys agree that Mr. Tuttle did not call them a racial slur but did repeat the word and shouldn’t have,” said Britton.

Parents and teachers say that it doesn’t matter. 

“Not once if I hear a child say the “n-word” in this school do I repeat that word,” said one Edison School of Arts teacher.

Erler said she and several teachers filed a complaint about Tuttle to IPS in 2014, but nothing was ever done.

“The things he said about our Black families were just terrible,” Erler said. “A person able to say those things about a person of color should not be in charge of a school.”

We reached out to the public relations agency working with IPS and Edison on this matter about the 2014 complaint but did not hear back.

Meanwhile, some Edison parents are calling on the board to take action.

“They need to let the kids know they come first,” said Shamura Caruthers Spaulding, a former dance teacher at Edison.

She said she is one of over 20 teachers who have left the school since 2021 because of Tuttle’s leadership.

“A lot of people are afraid to come forward out of fear because people are still in the school district teaching,” Caruthers said.

Erler worries if the board doesn’t take action, it could send a strong message to students.

“It absolutely tells the students they’re less than and they aren’t respected,” Erler said. “I’ve had to talk to students about not using that word at school before, and never have I needed to use the word.”

The board is working with a law firm that is conducting a legal review. The firm did not give a timeline but said they will recommend either keeping Tuttle on the payroll or suggesting he be fired based on their findings.