By ROBERT CONNELLY
The Austintown Board of Education unanimously took the final step Friday in firing a teacher accused of an inappropriate relationship with five female students at Fitch High School.
John Dietz, a social-studies teacher, was “terminated for good and just cause” effective Friday, according to the resolution passed in a 5-0 vote. Dietz has told the school board that he will challenge the decision through arbitration.
The board said it does not plan to issue another statement on the issue “until the arbitration process is complete.”
Capt. Bryan Kloss of Austintown police has said the criminal investigation was closed with no charges. Police had searched his school computer during their investigation.
The resolution states verbal or nonverbal sexual harassment “occurring inside or outside of district buildings, on other district-owned property or at school-sponsored social functions/activities, is illegal and unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The grounds for termination also are outlined in the resolution, citing 51 instances of professional misconduct. Among those referenced are photos of Dietz posing for pictures with his arms around a girl, texting them while he was supposed to be instructing, referring to Superintendent Vincent Colaluca by derogatory names in texts to students, texting students about tequila, and texting as late as 10 p.m. and when school was not in session, such as spring break, snow days or weekends.
The resolution said there were no photos of Dietz on his computer with male students in the same fashion. One of the resolutions stated Dietz “continued texting female students even after they allegedly told him to stop.”