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Alleged inappropriateness calls for action by board

April 29, 2012
Morning Journal News

At long last the East Liverpool City School Board has begun the process of terminating the contract of a teacher whose career in the district has been fraught with complaints.

Science teacher Phillip Lacey is currently suspended with pay after being escorted by police from school property Feb. 15 following a report that he had made an inappropriate comment to a student, the latest in a series of complaints lodged against him since at least 2002.

At Monday night's board meeting, a resolution of intent to consider the termination of Lacey's teaching contract was approved with just member Richard Wolf opposed.

For Wolf in explaining his reason for dissension to say the wording used in the complaints is ambiguous is ludicrous. The Morning Journal found in his personnel file page after page of hand-written complaints from students making the same sorts of allegations over a period of at least 10 years. That doesn't sound too ambiguous to us, and probably not to these kids' parents.

Throughout Lacey's personnel file are numerous complaints of lecherous behavior and sexual innuendos directed at students. Not all of the complaints were sexual in nature, but most of them were. The other documents within his file painted a picture of a teacher whose classroom was in chaos, while he displayed downright rude behavior with little regard for the feelings of his students. If these complaints are true, it is amazing how this man escaped termination for 10 years especially since he obviously never changed his behavior despite several reprimands.

Obviously the teacher's side will be told during a hearing, and he may end up keeping his job, but the board has done the right thing in trying to fire an employee against whom so many complaints have been filed.



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