Listen Live

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A school board member in Evansville who is in trouble with the law has been granted an unpaid leave of absence from the board while the case against her is litigated.

Amy Word was arrested as part of a drug sting in which 22 people were taken into custody. The initial drug deal that led to the sting took place in the parking lot of a restaurant that Word owns in Evansville. Word is charged only with maintaining a common nuisance.

Rather than continue in her duties on the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Board, Word was given an unpaid leave of absence which will last as long as the case against her is heard in court.

Many in the community, including fellow board members, have been calling for her resignation, but she has refused to do so for the time being. Board president Chris Kiefer is one of those calling for her to resign.

“Our next best option was to ask for an unpaid leave of absence, which she said ‘fine’,” Kiefer said. “That gives her time for her to deal with her personal issues but allows the board to continue on with the good work of the school corporation. That’s what we are here for.”

During the board meeting Monday, many concerned parents voiced their demand that members vote her off the school board entirely. Members got clarification from the school district attorney, Patrick Shoulders, on what they can do from here on out. He told them they have already done all they can.

“Only a judge may remove a school board member from office,” Shoulders said. “Remember a fundamental premise that we teach our children in our schools. Everyone is presumed innocent. There has been no conviction here. There has been a charge.”

Word has pled not guilty to the charge she is facing in the drug bust.