Dennison, Ohio - The Claymont Board of Education’s investigation into the conduct of six staff members has ended with five resignations.
On Monday, the board voted to approve resignation agreements with teachers Darcie Apple, Brittany O’Hara and Rochelle Seibert, Nurse Juli Grove, and Guidance Counselor Lauren Castello.
All had been on paid administrative leave since October 4th pending the outcome of an internal investigation being conducted by the law firm Pepple & Waggoner of Independence.
The board released a statement about the investigation on October 6th. In it, they stated that they launched the investigation after receiving complaints about a group of teachers engaging in a pattern of exchanging inappropriate text messages during the school day.
The board has not elaborated on the nature of those messages but has a policy that prohibits staff members from using personal wireless communication devices for certain “unacceptable uses” while on school property during school hours or during a school-sponsored event or activity.
Teacher Derek O'Hara was later implicated in the investigation and had been on paid leave since October 8th. He returned to work on Monday.
The board approved the five resignation agreements individually and unanimously after returning from a more than hour-long closed-door session. After another lengthy closed-door session, President Michelle Sproul released the following statement:
“Tonight the Claymont City School District Board of Education acted to adopt resignation agreements for five staff members. The board believes that this resolution to this matter is in the best interest of the district as a whole and allows the parties to move on in a manner that conserves district resources, administrative time, and various fees that would be associated with any other resolution.”
Sproul said the board believed “no further comment regarding the matter was necessary at this time.” When asked why Derek O’Hara was the only one cleared to return to work, Sproul said she could not comment further but indicated that another statement from the board would be forthcoming.
In an emailed statement, Claymont Education Association President Dalyn O’Connor said the teacher's union is extremely saddened to have five of its exemplary and highly dedicated educators move forward.
"These extremely accomplished educators were an integral part of the success of Claymont Schools. Their contributions to this district and commitment to the education of all students will be sorely missed,” she wrote.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV