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Students, parents rally to support teacher

Online petition urges others to stand up for teacher in threat of contract non-renewal.

Hundreds have signed a petition to protest a principal’s recommendation to not renew the contract for a Northeastern High School social studies teacher.

Northeastern Local Schools Superintendent Lou Kramer will give his recommendation on whether or not to renew the contract for Greg Mann at a 6 p.m. Thursday school board meeting at Kenton Ridge High School, 4444 Middle Urbana Road. The board also is scheduled to vote on the issue.

“At the end of the day, the school board is the one who is going to make the decision, but I really hope they take the voice of students into consideration,” said Holly Riggle, a concerned parent who started a petition and has rallied support for Mann.

As as of Friday afternoon, the online petition had almost 300 signatures from students and others who want Mann to stay.

The district hasn’t provided Mann any reasons why the principal recommended not renewing his contract.

The superintendent declined to comment on Mann’s situation, saying it was an ongoing personnel matter. A review of his personnel record found only two disciplinary write-ups, one for leaving his class unattended once and another for distributing a note in class seeking support for his contract renewal, both in March.

Mann also declined to comment, but issued a statement: “I firmly believe in the democratic process of the United States on the national, state and local levels. I will respect and trust the decision of our Northeastern Local School Board.”

Mann is an amazing teacher, Riggle said, and her daughter came home in tears after learning the news.

Brad Minerd, a concerned resident and the older brother of a Northeastern High student, signed the online petition and sent a letter to the school board.

“I’ve asked the school board to answer three questions: Is Mr. Mann teaching in an unethical manner? Is Mr. Mann’s behavior in or out of the classroom inappropriate? Is he not teaching according to the curriculum that they’ve approved?” Minerd said. “Or is there something that they’re not telling us, because that’s my biggest concern.”

For the first four years of an Ohio teacher’s career, they sign a one-year, limited contract, which is renewed on a year-to-year basis. Mann has served four years and if the school district were to offer him a new contract, it would be for a three-year commitment, Kramer said. Teachers are notified by April 30 whether or not the school board has decided to re-employ them, according to the Ohio Education Association.

School districts aren’t required to give teachers a list of reasons why their contracts are or aren’t renewed until after a school board vote. It is Northeastern’s policy that after the vote, the teacher can then request reasons and receive a hearing with the board, Kramer said.

Both Riggle and Minerd said they signed the petition and will attend the school board meeting. School board members are elected officials, Minerd said, and residents’ concerns should be their priority.

“School board members, educators and principals normally beg the community to get involved and when you have 400 people saying they’re going to come to a board meeting, the board should realize something big is going on,” he said.

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