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Sheriff says grandmother didn’t get straight story

SALINEVILLE — The grandmother of a Southern Local High School student wants a copy of any report made following a disputed incident between her grandson and the school resource officer.

The grandmother attended this week’s school board meeting to request a copy of any report on the Nov. 20 incident, which she said she only recently found out about last month. Superintendent Tom Cunningham said he believed there was a report and would provide her with a copy.

Later in the meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss several personnel-related issues. The grandmother was called in to meet with them for the first 15 minutes of the session.

After the meeting, the grandmother told the Journal the county sheriff’s deputy assigned as the school resource officer (SRO) pulled the chair out from under her grandson because he was sleeping in class. She said her grandson, who is 17, fell asleep in a classroom because he was not feeling well that day.

The youth was not injured, but she said that is not the point. “I just wish they would have handled it differently,” she said.

Sheriff Ray Stone disputed the grandmother’s version of the incident. According to Stone, when the teacher was unable to wake the student even after the end-of-class bell rang, she went to the administrative office for assistance and the school resource officer was there.

The SRO accompanied the teacher back to the classroom and began pulling the boy’s chair toward him, which is when he woke up, and grumbled a bit before leaving for his next class. Stone said at no point did the boy fall out of the chair.

“The teacher was there when it happened and she adamantly denied that he (SRO) pulled the chair out from underneath him or that he fell on the floor,” he said, adding students who were present can corroborate what occurred.

In other action at the meeting, the board approved the 2020-21 school calendar, with classes beginning Aug. 20 and ending May 27. Christmas break is Dec.21-Jan. 2 and Easter break is April 1-5.

The board also accepted a $500 donation from 1961 SLHS graduate Denny Goddard, who asked the money be used to help pay off the lunch debts owed by students.

Junior/high school principal Jay Kiger reported about another act of kindness by motivational counselor Christopher Milo, who has been working with students this year under a grant awarded the school district. Kiger said Milo learned of a junior high school girl who wrote all over her bedroom wall after becoming angry with a friend, but now she regretted it. Milo purchased paint and brushes for the girl, including artist brushes so she could indulge her creative side while repainting her bedroom.

“I honestly think he’s worth every dime we spend,” Kiger said of Milo.

Kiger also said former local TV newscaster turned motivational speaker Catherine Bosley also recently addressed students on the perils of social media. A videotape of her dancing naked in Key West while celebrating her return from two major health scares went viral on social media, ruining her career and subjecting her to national humiliation. In addition to giving talks about what happened to her and how to bounce back, Bosley acts as a personal coach, is writing a book and does occasional TV work.

“It was an unbelievable story, and that she survived and persisted, it’s an amazing story,” he said.

The board approved the following coaching contracts for the spring sports season:

Varsity girls track: Kathy Randolph, head coach; Brenda Kekel, assistant coach.

Varsity boys track: Mike Skrinjar, head coach; Jimmy Malone and Mike Shope, assistant coaches.

Junior high girls track: Chasity Sloan, head coach.

Junior high boys track; Rich Sloan, head coach.

Softball: Brent Boyle, manager; Andy Vulgamore, assistant coach.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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