Highland Elementary principals on administrative leave pending investigation
By Randa Wagner –UPDATED
An investigation by the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office regarding the alleged sexual misconduct of a Highland elementary school student has resulted in Highland Elementary School’s principals being placed on administrative leave.
Grades K-2 Principal Debra Knechtly and Grades 3–5 Principal Shawn Winkelfoos, “have temporarily been relieved of their duties while an investigation is conducted by the Morrow County Sheriff’s Department,” stated Superintendent Dr. Bill Dodds at the Nov. 13 Highland School Board meeting.
A press release from the sheriff’s office Nov. 14 reported an incident of possible sexual misconduct by a student that occurred October 19, and an investigation suggested proper protocol (according to the Ohio Revised Code) for reporting child abuse or neglect was not followed by the school staff.
“As a result, two elementary principals have been placed on administrative leave for not immediately notifying Children’s Services or law enforcement, as the statute mandates,” the press release said.
In a statement read to the community Tuesday night, Supt. Dodds said, “the investigation does not involve any improper conduct between school employees and students, nor does it involve any improper conduct between adults.”
Supt. Dodds and school board members would not reveal the details of the matter outright, since they are prohibited from discussing the subject while the investigation is pending. Both principals will be out of the building for an undetermined amount of time, Dodds said, and he will be the acting principal at the elementary school with the assistance of Mike Hoyng, assistant superintendent, and Lynn Thompson, middle school dean.
The matter has been handed over to the Morrow County prosecutor’s office, and this story will be expanded upon in next week’s issue of the Sentinel.
This story was modified at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, November 15 because the conversation from parents quoted from the school board meeting was not associated with the student involved in the Sheriff’s Office investigation. This clarification came to our attention Thursday morning and we apologize for the error.