Foggin not on BOE agenda

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg South High School teacher on administrative leave for more than a month will not be a topic of discussion at Tuesday’s Wood County Board of Education meeting.

The board, however, will discuss the recent controversy surrounding a Bible verse which has been used for years as a slogan for the Parkersburg South wrestling team.

The board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Jefferson Elementary School auditorium on Plum Street in Parkersburg.

Superintendent Pat Law said Thursday the suspension of Parkersburg South science teacher David Foggin will not be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We’ve not made enough progress yet (in the investigation) to make a recommendation at this point,” Law said.

Foggin was suspended March 18 following a post he made on his Facebook page that seemed to mock the PSHS Gay-Straight Alliance, a student-organized club that supports gay, lesbian and transgender students.

The Facebook post was shared numerous times and garnered hundreds of comments both in support of and against the teacher. The suspension led to a rally by supporters of Foggin and has received state and national attention in the media and by gay rights groups.

Law has taken the lead on the local investigation and last month sought advice from the state Department of Education. Law on Thursday declined to comment on details of the investigation or why the process has taken so long.

“We are still making progress,” he said.

Law also said he believes the school system has not violated state code concerning Foggin’s suspension, which requires board approval on any suspension lasting more than 30 days.

“We are looking at a four-day suspension at this time, and (Foggin) has been on administrative leave with pay since that time,” Law said.

Some of Foggin’s supporters have stated online they intend to address the board at Tuesday’s meeting. Law said he has not been made aware of such plans.

A discussion is planned on the district’s recent actions concerning a Bible verse which appeared on T-shirts worn by South wrestlers, a South wrestling website and in the school’s gymnasium.

Law last week ordered the verse painted over in the gym and removed from the team’s website following a complaint by the Wisconsin-based, nonprofit Freedom from Religion Foundation. Foundation officials said they sent a letter of complaint to Law after receiving a complaint from an area resident.

Law said his presentation Tuesday will revolve around the order of events and how the complaint was resolved.

“Of course the board can ask questions and we will get into a discussion at that time,” he said.

No related action items were included on Tuesday’s agenda.