Mallory Herrmann

Dr. Dennis Carpenter, superintendent for the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, is facing additional drama this week after a photo of him flipping off the camera surfaced on social media.

The photo, taken at a social gathering last year, was found on a friend’s page, not on Carpenter’s own profile.

The image has sparked outrage among some, saying that as superintendent of schools he should be held to a higher standard – especially when schools are making efforts to impress upon students the importance of acting responsibly on social media.

“I can understand that we all let loose while not at work HOWEVER he is a representation of Lee’s summit and the one who’s in charge of our school. As a parent I’m always preaching to my kids how social media can affect their future,” Lori Ramski Devlin commented on the Tribune’s Facebook page.

But others are saying it’s just an attempt to drag Carpenter’s name through the mud as he faces negotiations with the board of education to extend his contract.

“This picture is surfacing because there is a mob of parents out there that want this guy fired but can’t find a legit reason,” Kimberly Atkins Sterne commented on the Tribune’s Facebook page.

Carpenter has been facing an uphill battle in finding solutions to the district’s achievement gaps among students of minority populations.

“The ubiquity of social media and the inability to control what people post on social media can have ramifications beyond our control and is a problem we are all wrestling with in both the public and private sector. The Board of Education will look into the circumstances and visit with Dr. Carpenter to seek his perspective just like we would anyone else,” Kelly Wachel, executive director of public relations for the district, said in a statement.

Carpenter released his own statement in response to the photo’s appearance on social media:

“As the leader of the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, I care deeply about representing our district and our community responsibly. I am aware of and concerned about an image of me enjoying time with family and friends that has been brought into the public light. It’s unfortunate that this photograph has surfaced. As such, I’m committed to discussing the image with the Board of Education and moving forward.”