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Campbell teacher to serve suspension for unbecoming conduct

Published: Sun, February 9, 2014 @ 12:10 a.m.

State agrees to remove most of punishment for leaving class unattended




The permanent high-school teaching certificate of a longtime educator at Campbell Memorial High School has been suspended for a year, after an Ohio Board of Education ruling that found conduct unbecoming of his position.

Between 9:03 and 9:28 a.m. on May 16, Thomas J. Creed Jr., who has taught science at the high school for more than 25 years, left his scheduled second- period class unattended while he ran an errand off of school premises. Creed failed to notify the administration of his need for classroom coverage and neglected to follow sign-out procedures for leaving the building.

He also wasn’t present to supervise those students assigned to him, and therefore couldn’t “provide medical attention to a student with health needs” who “fainted in the class” during Creed’s absence, but “suffered only minor injuries from [the] fall,” according to a May 31 letter to Creed from Tom Robey, then-superintendent of Campbell City Schools, and Jacquelyn Hampton, high school principal.

This conduct violates Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3319 and the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators.

According to the consent agreement from the state, which took effect Jan. 31, all but 30 days of Creed’s suspension are stayed, or temporarily set aside, with the suspension set to be served from July 1 to July 30. During this suspension period, Creed is prohibited “from performing any educational activities, coaching activities or other duties within the State of Ohio that require certification or licensure through the Ohio Department of Education.”

In addition, the school district must submit detailed reports every three months during the one-year suspension to the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Professional Conduct to indicate whether Creed is “in good standing with his employer.” If Creed is found to be engaging in any further unbecoming conduct during this probationary period, “the full one-year suspension will be served.”

The agreement was signed by both Creed and Richard A. Ross, state superintendent of public instruction.

Creed’s attorney, Ira J. Mirkin, said his client “has expressed his recognition that he made an error in judgment, and accepted punishment of the school district and the Ohio Department of Education.”

Creed “is now focusing on providing the best instruction for the students that he serves and focusing on this current year, and looking forward to future years at Memorial High School,” said Matthew Bowen, current superintendent of Campbell City Schools.

The disciplinary action from the state isn’t the first taken against Creed for the May incident, said Robey, as the school district conducted its own investigation shortly afterward.

Notes of the investigation state that Creed admitted to being out of the building for between 15 and 20 minutes. They also detail Creed’s union representative stating he did not have to answer questions concerning why he left the building, as they were “irrelevant.”

Statements from students who witnessed the incident, but whose names were redacted from the file, claim that Creed had told them he was leaving to get money, but would be right back.

“Whenever an employee does something, regardless of whether it’s Mr. Creed or not, you’re always disappointed that they made a poor decision,” Robey said. “When that happens, all you can do is try to move forward, and try to make sure everybody’s OK, ... so you can go on with your day-to-day activities of educating children within the school district.”

The May 31 letter from Robey and Hampton lists Creed’s initial punishment for violating board policies, administrative guidelines and his job description: He was suspended for five days without pay, and two days were to be held in abeyance for one year.

The two days held in abeyance, the letter states, “will be activated, along with any other appropriate discipline, ... if further discipline or personnel issues occur with said employee between now and the end of the 2013-2014 school year.” If no such occurrences transpired, however, the two days would be deleted.

Because of an Aug. 27 grievance hearing, along with Creed’s “continued, professional service to the district,” this decision was amended.

A letter from the same date — from Robey, Hampton and Bowen — explains that Creed’s reduced discipline would consist of a one-day suspension without pay, as well as one day held in abeyance for a year. Creed’s pay, which was “previously reduced by three days over three pay periods,” would be “reinstated for two of the days that were previously withheld” no later than Sept. 30.

Any future misconduct, though, could result in “further discipline up to and including termination of [Creed’s] employment,” the letter states.

According to state records, Creed’s salary was $63,357 in 2013, plus an additional $3,961 for a coaching assignment.

A review of Creed’s personnel file — which includes evaluations of his performance from Oct. 28, 1987, to March 1, 2013 — revealed overwhelmingly positive ratings in categories such as design of tasks, classroom management and pacing decisions.

The evaluation from 2002 rates Creed’s attendance as “OK,” though in 2003, it states that Creed “made an effort to be punctual and in attendance.”

The evaluation from 2006, however, mentions “excessive teacher absenteeism [that] may negatively impact individual and classroom performance.”

“Absenteeism disrupts student achievement, increases district costs since a substitute teacher must be called out, and damages public confidence if taxpayers perceive sick- leave abuses,” reads the 2006 evaluation, which suggests a need for improvement.

In 2007, attendance was marked as “fair.” In 2008, it was back to “good,” the highest level, with the only comment being a suggestion to have a folder ready for substitute teachers in the event of an absence.


1YtownParent(1086 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Only in public education. Anyone in the private sector would have been justly terminated for abandoning their post.

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2overwhelminglydisgusted1(4 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I am going to start off with saying this is my opinion because I am aware of the politics that occurs in the Campbell City Schools. As a school educator I wanted to thank the Vindicator for again accurately/inaccurately reporting something that happened in our school system because certain educator(s) need to cause issues because they may have not liked the way a situation was handled.

The supposed educator that called you, in my opinion, is the mother of the student who passed out. She has caused many political differences in the school system. She herself left a student in Cleveland and was never reprimanded. She constantly wears clothes that reveal her upper extremeties or her thongs from the back of her trousers. As a uniformed school system I feel the the educators need to be uniformed also. Maybe it is because she herself is engaged to a prominent individual in the school system.

The problem is that when an educator is disciplined by the school system we should as employees & residents be satisfied and go on with our daily routines and let the system prevail. However that doesn't happen in Campbell. So far the news worthy events that occurred are against people who are exempliary educators in the school system. They are loved and respected by most of their peers, their students and the parents. They do not get caught up in this political propoganda. This needs to stop and you need to stop these educator(s) everytime they call you. They may not reveal thier identity but it would only be common sense.

They never got caught for shoplifting, adultery or any other non-ethical situations. They are good men, execellent educators that are being turned in and reported by another scorned co-worker. Disciplines happen in other school systems everyday. I have worked in them before but oncesomethng is handed down it is accepted and dropped.

Thank You

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3msweetwood(179 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Over: So, The Vindicator needs to stop thoroughly checking out and reporting on stories about teacher conduct - allowing all sides a chance to weigh in - but you think it is OK to make unsubstantiated, one-sided claims about teachers while hiding behind an anonymous persona? Really?

For the record, your claim of who contacted The Vindicator is completely wrong, calling into question everything else in your post.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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4YtownParent(1086 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Don't stop Vindy. Every instance of teacher misconduct, in any school system, should be looked into and thoroughly reported. Any private sector employee, from the clerk at the grocery store to the representative at the call center to the welder on the line would be terminated for leaving their post without telling their supervisor. Any parent who left their kids at home alone would probably be facing criminal charges. But a public school teacher gets a minor suspension to be served during the month school is not in session. Mr. Creed is just another reason to completely reorganize the public school system.

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5overwhelminglydisgusted1(4 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I believe every teacher misconduct should be looked into from every school. However this is not the case. I can only speak about our school system. If it were reported why was there a child left in Cleveland on a field Trip and never reprimanded. All I am saying that the Vndicator needs to verify and interview all parties before they begin to report on stories. Furthermore any information that was given in that comment can be substantiated by the Mahoning County Courts, any parent that has complained about her dress code. The problem is that I cannot give my name because I am an employee and she is engaged to a Board of Education member and they have caused many problems amongst good teachers with their political inuendos.

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6ChiamWitz(1 comment)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Oh boy am I glad my children didn't have to put up with whatever you guys put in the Kool-aide over there in Campbell. I'm sure Campbell has some great teachers just as Youngstown and every other failing school. This guy just doesn't sound like one I'd have doing much more than landscaping at my place. Anybody I mean anybody that is in the public governmental work place that would be this sneaky and irresponsible does not deserve to keep his job, but of course he has his wonderful union to cover his back. (all though they thought it was irrelevant to disclose where this Creed took off to. Sad to say I have many relatives from Campbell and everyday its the same over there. Its like one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. Tom Roby keeping a second salary as they needed 2 Superintendents and still with 2 in place they're accused of fixing numbers, (oh yeah that's what put Campbell on the map fixing numbers, very ironic how things stay the same.) The next week its the school cop with inappropriate behavior, followed by a wild west scene with a gun totting teacher, which both like Creed said they made a lapse in judgement. This behavior just is not good enough for society or taxpayers. The old superintendent from Girard who was put away for giving cocaine to students, Kendall the Boardman cop having inappropriate relations with a minor. I wish every one of you that supports this kind of selfish behavior would work one week in the private sector where the job is performance based and never guaranteed. Oh one more thing Campbell I would also get rid of overwhelminglydiscusted too, if you allow him or her to teach in your district. One for supporting this kind of behavior because if they support it, they probably also do it, Secondly,although I am no Thoreau this person has the writing skills of a fifth grader, and they're a teacher.Come on guys make better choices over there. Defiantly a case of the inmates running the asylum.

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7nipsy(161 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

So that is all he got for punishment? Pathetic!!! If I left my job to run an errand and was caught doing that, I would no longer have my job. Period!!!

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8letstalkaboutit(1 comment)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

lets talk about how everything overwhelmingdisgusted1 has said is completely true. while this specific teacher may have made the wrong decision in this case i can confidently say from my past experience he is one the the good teacher at Campbell the same goes for the other teacher who was found with a fire arm IN HIS CAR. While they both made mistakes does that automatically cancel out every good thing they have done within the school system throughout the years. In reference to terrible fatuity members i can name quite a few people that should have been gone a long time ago, but they have weaseled their way so far into our school system it is nearly impossible to get them out. hopefully the new superintendent can turn the school system around and correct all of the mistakes past officials have made,because this is exactly how Campbell operates they persecute they good teachers leaving the ones that truly need to be punished unharmed. SPECIFICALLY the teacher overwhelmingdisgusted1 was referring to. In all my years of school i have never witnessed such a terrible person and teacher. Not only does this specific teacher favorite her male students over her female students she also gains enjoyment out of belittling and bullying her students. the politics in that school system are absolutely absurd. Her personal involvement with a school board member has shielded her from any type of punishment throughout the years and when the citizens of Campbell had a chance to correct that they failed once again by re-electing him.

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9YtownParent(1086 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

"While they both made mistakes does that automatically cancel out every good thing they have done within the school system throughout the years"

No it doesn't cancel out the good they may have done, that good will continue whether they are there or not. But anywhere else, in any other job, it does cancel out anything they might do in the future. You break the rules, you suffer the consequences, but God forbid we ever teach our kids that lesson. They might grow up to be responsible adults who don't put up with this lackadaisical attitude to performance from themselves or others.

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