Wood BOE to consider teacher’s suspension

PARKERSBURG -Members of the Wood County Board of Education will vote this evening on the suspension of a Parkersburg High School teacher.

Board members will consider the recommended retroactive suspension of a PHS professional employee. The employee is not being identified by officials and is listed only by an identification number on tonight’s agenda.

Wood County Schools Superintendent Pat Law said the employee’s name will not be revealed until after the vote. Law said officials were given legal advice not to identify employees until after such a vote.

“You are putting public opinion on this individual whether they are deemed guilty or not before the board has its vote,” Law said. “They are not guilty until the board actually votes on them.”

Law said he suspended the employee in question without pay between Jan. 10-16. The board is voting to uphold the suspension. If the suspension is rejected, the employee receives back pay and their record is expunged.

Wood County Schools Assistant Superintendent Sue Woodward said officials want the board to make a decision based on the facts of the case.

“If there has been coverage by the press, the notoriety of that action is taken into account. By law, we are supposed to take into account the actionable offense.”

Last month PHS made international news when the “Bad Kid Fort” incident was brought to light. Beth Dean and Jeff Richards, whose son was the victim in the incident, are upset the teacher received only a week’s suspension. The teacher involved in the incident has not been identified.

Dean spoke to board members at the Jan. 22 meeting. She spoke for more than 15 minutes – sometimes through tears – recounting her son’s ordeal. The board took no action on the issue and spoke only after the public comments had been aired.

Board member Jim Fox said board members cannot comment on actions taken against personnel but assured Dean her concerns were “appropriately addressed” and receive the proper attention from administrators.

The board is also poised to hire Mike Eddy as the football coach at Parkersburg South High School.

Last month Eddy – and his wife, Joni -were hired as educators in the school system as multicategorical educators. Bob Harris, assistant superintendent of pupil and personnel services, said both had taught previously in the school system.

Eddy, who previously served as assistant coach at PHS, taught five years in the county (2005-09) before moving to teach at Gallia Academy. Eddy’s wife also worked in Wood County (2005-09) as well as teaching stints in Tyler and Jackson counties. She’s spent the last two years in Gallipolis, according to Harris.

Harris said when the two were hired back into the county school system they regained their seniority. But Harris said their seniority did not factor into the decision to hire them.

“Seniority is not a factor when they apply,” Harris said.

Harris said multicategorical special education programs is an area of need in the school system.

“We have a lot of openings in multicategorical programs, which involve students that have more than one exceptionality.”