Editor’s note — The following is what Hillsboro Superintendent Tim Davis read at Monday’s Hillsboro Board of Education meeting concerning his recommendation to the board to terminate the employment of Choral Director David White:
After careful consideration of the totality of the facts and circumstances surrounding an investigation into the actions and conduct of David White, a teacher in the Hillsboro City School District, I have concluded that I must recommend the termination of his employment contract with the Hillsboro City School District Board of Education. Mr. White was afforded the opportunity to appear before me and respond to allegations against him at a pre-termination conference on April 3, 2019. Mr. White did not refute the factual allegations against him. Mr. White was represented during the conference by representatives from the Hillsboro Education Association (HEA).
The specific facts that serve as the basis for this recommendation are as follows:
1. Mr. White escorted Hillsboro High School choir members on a board-approved field trip to New York City that was scheduled from March 27, 2019 through March 31, 2019.
2. On March 28, 2019, Mr. White, while in control of and responsible for the actions and conduct of the students on the New York City Field Trip, permitted and oversaw the efforts of a number of students to physically move an automobile that appeared to be parked on a street in New York City.
3. Mr. White’s conduct and the conduct of the students under his supervision was captured on video by other students on the field trip and posted on Facebook.
4. When Mr. White was contacted by the superintendent via telephone on March 28, 2019 about the posted video, he acknowledged the actions of the students and his supervisory role in the effort to move the automobile and added that it was his attempt to assist the bus in which the Hillsboro High School group was traveling to maneuver on the street.
5. Mr. White admitted to the superintendent during the telephone conversation on March 28, 2019 that his decision was poor judgment on his part.
6. Mr. White did not have or did not seek permission from any law enforcement authority to instruct the students to attempt to move the automobile.
7. Mr. White did not perceive or express the belief that the presence of the automobile posed an imminent danger to the students or the Hillsboro High School group or any other person in the immediate vicinity of the automobile.
8. Mr. White’s conduct exposed him and the high school students attempting to move the automobile to potential criminal charges.
9. Mr. White’s disciplinary record during the past five years reflects seven separate incidents where the district administration has critically identified actions by Mr. White that reflect inappropriate actions and/or incidents of poor judgment. The incidents were: April 17, 2014 – failure to submit in a timely fashion interim grade reports or entries in the districtwide Progressbook; May 1, 2014 – confiscation of a student’s cell phone and the presence of digital images of Mr. White on that device; May 22, 2014 – written reprimand for impromptu and rash actions with students; November 4, 2014 – parental complaint regarding inappropriate actions taken by Mr. White at school; June 3, 2015 – directive to Mr. White to remove Facebook posting due to potential bullying nature toward staff members; February 6, 2017 – concerns regarding failure to complete Public Works safety training as required and failure to adhere to proper protocol regarding taking food from cafeteria; March 2, 2017 – written reprimand for hindering school operations by blocking bus loading zone with his vehicle.
10. On April 3, 2019, Mr. White met with the superintendent at a pre-disciplinary conference to discuss Mr. White’s actions of March 28, 2019 and was offered the opportunity to explain or otherwise defend his actions.
I did report these facts to the Ohio Department of Education on the grounds that Mr. White engaged or may have engaged in conduct unbecoming to the teaching profession as I am required by law to do.
In addition, I believe Mr. White’s behavior has violated a number of policies and administrative guidelines of the Hillsboro City School District Board of Education as identified below and evidence unprofessional conduct of a teacher that exposed students to possible physical harm and criminal charges…
Note — There is a section omitted here where the board policies that were allegedly violated are listed.
Based on the incident of March 28, 2019, I believe Mr. White’s actions have violated one or more of the listed board policies and guidelines and I have serious reservations about Mr. White’s ability to adequately carry out his duties as a teacher in the Hillsboro City School. Additionally, Mr. White’s most recent disciplinary record demonstrates continued examples of poor judgment and unprofessional conduct, which negatively impacts the school and student environment.
I recommend that the Hillsboro City School District Board of Education adopt a resolution announcing its intent to consider the termination of Mr. White’s employment contract as an employee of the Hillsboro City School District for good and just cause.
The specific grounds for my recommendation are as follows:
After a thorough investigation of the incident outlined above that included participation by Mr. White, it is my assertion that:
1. Mr. White exposed students under his supervision to safety hazards when he directed them to physically maneuver an automobile on a New York City street during a board-approved field trip.
2. Mr. White failed to exercise professional judgment and conduct by placing students in a potentially hazardous situation on an out-of-state field trip.
3. Mr. White failed to report the exposure of students to a hazardous situation to a responsible administrator of the district.
4. Mr. White has engaged in a series of incidents of unacceptable conduct in the recent past that have been addressed by the district and each of them represent examples of poor and unprofessional judgment on the part of Mr. White.
These incidents, individually or in combination, violate the Hillsboro City School District Board of Education Policy 2340 – Field and Other District-Sponsored Trips; Board of Education 3210 – Staff Ethics; Board of Education Policy 3213 – Student Supervision and Welfare; and reflect unprofessional and poor judgment by a professional staff member that posed an unacceptable danger to the safety and welfare of students under his care.
These incidents, individually or in combination, violate the Hillsboro City School District Board of Education Administrative Guideline 2340A – Field Trip Guidelines; Board of Education Administrative Guideline 2340C – Overnight Trips (District-Sponsored); Board of Education Administrative Guideline 2340E – Trip Leader Responsibilities; Board of Education Administrative Guideline 2340F – Chaperones for Trips; Board of Education Administrative Guideline 3213 – Student Supervision and Welfare.
Because of these facts and violations and a general failure to conduct himself in a professional manner that safeguards the safety of students in his care, I believe there is good and just cause for the termination of Mr. White’s employment contract and I recommend, at this time, that the board consider a Resolution of Intention to consider the termination of David White’s employment contract. I also recommend that due to the nature of Mr. White’s actions toward students that Mr. White’s employment contract be suspended without pay effective April 4, 2019 during the pendency of the contract termination process as permitted by O.R.C. §3319.16.
Tim Davis, superintendent, April 15, 2019