Suspended Federal Hocking Teacher May Return To Classroom

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An agreement approved by the Federal Hocking Board of Education could pave the way for a suspended teacher to return to the classroom.

The Board unanimously approved an agreement between the Board, the Federal Hocking Teachers Association and Coolville Elementary physical education teacher Jenny Silvus during a recent special meeting. There was no discussion with regard to the action during the meeting that lasted five minutes.

Details of that agreement have not yet been made public and it remains unsigned at this time due in part to parties being out of town.

Federal Hocking Supt. George Wood stated that the agreement would be placed in Silvus’ personnel file and therefore become public record once it is signed. He had no comment with regard to the matter until the agreement is signed.

Matt Conrad, a labor relations consultant with the Ohio Education Association, stated it is his understanding Silvus will sign a “last chance agreement.”

Conrad stated that he did not know the specific details of the agreement as he had not personally seen the document, but that typically the agreement details what must be done by the parties and what steps may be taken moving forward if things are completed as outlined.

Silvus was suspended on March 11 according to an email sent by Wood to Silvus and Coolville Elementary Principal Mary Mitchell. The Messenger obtained the email through a public records request. The email does not state the reason for the suspension, but advises Silvus not to speak with other staff members, except union representation, and students about the current situation.

According to documents in Silvus’ personnel file obtained through the same public records request, Silvus was accused of being rough with a student, holding her wrist tightly while taking her down the hall to the office. The student reportedly was crying and stated Silvus was breaking her wrist. The student had reportedly been hitting other kids in class.

A second notice was sent to Silvus on April 14 by Wood, stating that he would recommend to the Board that it consider the suspension and/or initiation of termination proceedings due to allegation of improper treatment and management of students. Silvus was invited to address the board in executive session with regard to the matter. The board did meet in executive session at the following meeting for nearly three hours related to personnel matters. Conrad stated that it was the decision of the Board not to terminate Silvus, but rather to enter into the last chance agreement.