Wood BOE to consider teacher suspension

PARKERSBURG – Members of the Wood County Board of Education will consider the suspension of Parkersburg High School teacher at next week’s meeting. But officials won’t say if the matter is fallout from a Harlem Shake video filmed at the school recently.

Members are scheduled for an executive session at next week’s meeting regarding a personnel matter. There is also an agenda item recommending the approval of a five-day suspension of a Parkersburg High School teacher – identified only by a personnel number.

The matters could be fallout from the PHS Harlem Shake video. The video contains some alleged inappropriate content and allegedly features a teacher. School system officials declined to say if the agenda items were tied to the video incident or if the employee was the teacher in question. Superintendent Pat Law was out of town Friday.

Bob Harris, assistant superintendent of pupil and personnel services, said officials were advised by legal counsel to identify employees by number rather than name.

“If we use their name, we are assuming guilt before due process rights are given to employee,” he said.

Harris said once action is taken by the board the employee’s name appears in the meeting minutes.

Board president Tim Yeater said the issue has been big news in the media, but it’s not something that needs to be addressed by the board.

“It is a code of conduct issue,” he said.

Earlier this year, Yeater was the lone no vote in the board’s decision to uphold the suspension of Amanda Terrell, the teacher involved in the “Bad Kid Fort” incident.

“We were quick to go to that,” he said, “but I wanted to talk about this process. Here’s an issue we need to talk about. To me there was no emergency need.”

Yeater said Harlem Shake video was poor judgment, a bad choice and poor timing, but not an issue that needs to be handled by the board.

“Is this a board of education issue?” he asked. “Not in my opinion.”

He said the incident should be handled at the school level. The board needs to be concerned with “big picture issues, not conduct issues,” he said.

“Based on what I have heard so far, I thought (Principal Pam) Goots or officials who supervise the teacher should handle it.”

“Don’t call me about it. Take care of it,” he added. “Too many of these issues coming to the board of education are not board of education issues.”