Dayton teacher fired for ‘dragging’ kindergartner across gym

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 @ 3:44 PM

A Dayton Public Schools teacher was accused of dragging a student.

A Dayton Public Schools teacher was terminated after he reportedly “grabbed a student by the wrist during gym class at Rosa Parks Early Learning Center, twisted his arm, and dragged him across the gym floor,” according to a letter detailing the district’s accusations.

David Cameron was accused of dragging the kindergarten boy “on or about” Nov. 28, 2016, according to a March 15 letter DPS Treasurer Hiwot Abraha wrote Cameron detailing the specifications of the grounds for termination.

The school board approved a resolution to terminate Cameron during Tuesday night’s meeting. Attempts to reach Cameron for this story at a telephone number listed online were not successful.

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The Dayton Daily News obtained the letter using Ohio’s public records laws.

“The kindergarten student expressed that you were hurting him, yet you did not release him,” the letter states. “On Feb, 23, 2017, you were present at an administrative hearing regarding the charges and specifications surrounding this matter. It was noted in the hearing that you have been counseled previously regarding appropriate student disciplinary procedures.”

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Cameron initially requested a hearing before a referee appointed by the Ohio Department of Education, according to the resolution from the meeting. But the document says Cameron “withdrew his request and waived any right to a hearing” before the Aug. 2 meeting.

Cameron was placed on leave for several months after the incident.

A 2014-15 staff roster for Fairview PreK-8 School lists Cameron as a physical education teacher. A 2016-17 staff roster lists Cameron as the physical education teacher at Rosa Parks ELC.

Cameron earned $65,006 in base compensation in 2016, according to the Dayton Daily News I-Team Payroll Project.

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Northeastern to close, consolidate schools if bond fails

Published: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
Updated: Friday, March 16, 2018 @ 6:06 PM

            Rolling Hills Elementary School. Bill Lackey/Staff
Rolling Hills Elementary School. Bill Lackey/Staff

The Northeastern Local School Board of Education approved a contingency plan to consolidate the district’s two high schools and close Rolling Hills Elementary School should voters in May again reject a $79 million bond issue for new schools.

The district is asking voters for a bond issue to build two new pre-k through 12th grade schools in the district, one on the Kenton Ridge High School side and the other on the Northeastern High School side. The state has offered to pay about $40 million for the schools, making the total cost of the project about $119 million.

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Having a backup plan is necessary, Northeastern Local Schools Superintendent John Kronour said.

“The district faces a number of upcoming facilities expenses to address problems in the aging school buildings, such as leaking roofs, poor air quality, heating and air conditioning regulation, plumbing problems, and other issues,” he said.

The contingency plan calls for closing Rolling Hills Elementary, using South Vienna and Northridge as preschool through fifth-grade elementary buildings, converting Kenton Ridge into a middle school for all sixth- through eighth-grade students and making Northeastern High School the only high school in the district.

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“By eliminating one building, the district will reduce necessary repairs in the future and be able to concentrate limited funds available for facilities upgrades toward the remaining four buildings,” Kronour said.

The Springfield News-Sun will update this article when more information is available.


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Judge could rule Friday in Dayton school task force open meetings case

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 6:29 PM

            Dayton Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli is sworn in Thursday during a hearing in the courtroom of Montgomery County Judge Richard Skelton. STAFF/MARK GOKAVI
Dayton Public Schools Acting Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli is sworn in Thursday during a hearing in the courtroom of Montgomery County Judge Richard Skelton. STAFF/MARK GOKAVI

A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge heard testimony and arguments as part of the lawsuit brought by a Dayton resident who alleges that a joint city and Dayton Public Schools task force studying school facilities violated Ohio’s Open Meetings Act.

The suit was filed by David Esrati, who filed it without an attorney. Esrati contends he was not allowed to attend a February bus tour of Dayton schools during which task force members went into schools until district attorneys advised them to cancel remaining stops.

DPS attorney Brian Wildermuth argued that the task force was not a public body and, therefore, not subject to the Open Meetings Act.

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Judge Richard Skelton said Thursday he would consider what he heard and review videos submitted by Esrati, adding that he would “determine where I think we’re headed and how before I do anything else.”

Skelton said he may reach a decision Friday and asked Wildermuth if a planned Tuesday meeting for the Dayton Board of Education could be pushed back. Wildermuth said he didn’t have the authority to do that and objected to Thursday’s hearing taking place.

Skelton rejected Wildermuth’s motion to dismiss the case with prejudice.

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Esrati questioned Dayton Public Schools Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli and also was cross-examined by Wildermuth during the nearly 2½-hour, wide-ranging hearing.

Esrati asked why he was not allowed to go into schools while certain media outlets were — without cameras, purportedly to protect student identities, he said. Lolli said she didn’t consider Esrati a media member.

Esrati disagreed with that assessment. He said that regardless, “The open records law grants access to everybody. They missed that part.”

Esrati submitted for evidence emails he requested from Dayton Public Schools about the task force’s formation and videos of the day he tried to go on the bus tour plus news stories.

Wildermuth and Dayton city attorney John Musto reserved the right to object to some of Esrati’s submissions. Wildermuth also submitted items for evidence with no objection.

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Skelton repeatedly told Esrati he was giving leeway because the plaintiff wasn’t an attorney. Skelton sustained several defense objections for questions that were deemed not relevant.

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How Middletown’s newest school is progressing, and what it will offer students

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 4:00 AM

$96 million school renovation and construction project in Middletown

The new school rising from construction dust on Middletown’s high school campus is striking for both architectural and educational reasons.

The new Middletown Middle School, which is part of the massive $96 million transformation of the Middletown High School campus, is on schedule and budget, said school officials.

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Wings of the new school are separated into seventh and eighth grades and include shared learning pods outside of classrooms designed to better engage students, said George Long, business manager for the school system.

All the work on the new, 135,000-square-foot middle school will be completed by the first day of classes for the 2018-19 school year.

Simultaneously, renovation and expansion work at the adjacent high school is proceeding, and together the two projects comprise the largest school construction enterprise in the city school system’s history.

“Things are moving along, with no major hurdles,” said Long over the din of interior finishing work now being done by work crews in the middle school.

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The district’s current Vail Middle School, which will close after this school year, is the former Middletown High School and opened in 1923. It is the oldest school building in the county.

“The biggest difference here is that we teach differently than we do at the high school,” said Long, referring to the learning pod infrastructure in each wing of the middle school.

“It’s a teaming concept and students will stay in their team area for most of the school day. All of their core classes happen in a six-classroom pod so they are not walking from one end of the building to the other,” he said.

George Long, business manager for Middletown Schools, shows off one of the new learning pods between classrooms at the new Middletown Middle School now under construction.(Staff Writer)

Moreover, the teachers in those pods work together in a team structure that better allows the instructors to modify learning pace and subject matters to individual students who may be lagging academically and working ahead of their classmates.

Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. said the new school design “gives our students access to innovative learning spaces and it allows us to start redefining how we educate students.”

“Our hallways will function as extended learning areas and will allow us to invest in innovative practices such as maker learning. This new start-of-the-art facility will serve as a source of inspiration for our Middie Modernization Movement,” said Styles, referring to the campaign he started shortly after starting work for the district in August.

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Prayers, silence and demonstrations: A day of National Student Walk Out events in the area

Published: Thursday, March 15, 2018 @ 4:30 AM

Students at Middletown High School participated in events Wednesday, March 14 as part of National Walk Out efforts to commemorate the deaths of 17 students who died from gunfire at a Parkland, Fla. high school. Students filled the Wade E. Miller Arena and 17 students read biographies of those killed in the Parkland school shooting. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Students at Middletown High School participated in events Wednesday, March 14 as part of National Walk Out efforts to commemorate the deaths of 17 students who died from gunfire at a Parkland, Fla. high school. Students filled the Wade E. Miller Arena and 17 students read biographies of those killed in the Parkland school shooting. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The sports arena at Middletown High School was packed with more than 1,200 students Wednesday morning, but it had never been this quiet.

On the court were 17 students, each holding an enlarged photo of one of the 17 shooting victims killed last month at a Parkland, Fla. high school massacre that still shakes the nation.

Each took turns reading short bios on the slain students and staffers of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The Middletown students wanted to create and conduct a ceremony as part of the National Walkout event held nationwide Wednesday morning at more 3,000 schools.

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After describing each victim, the Middletown students told the crowd “never again” and then sat on the court. At the end of the ceremony they all laid down, symbolizing the fallen 17.

The ceremony – along with those at other schools - doubled as a protest against gun violence and a call for making schools safer.

“There is a lot of energy out there to make change and I think there is also energy to mourn for our brothers and sisters in Parkland,” said Middletown Senior Class President Zach Banks, who lead the ceremony.

“I think people are uniquely moved by this shooting to make action and change in their communities,” said Banks, who also praised school officials for letting students handle almost all aspects of the ceremony, which lasted about half hour.

Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter said that was the way it should be.

“It was all them (students). They planned this and they came up with how they wanted to honor the students that lost their lives so tragically,” said Cotter.

Other events held across Butler and Warren counties went smoothly, said school officials.

The walkout ceremonies took different forms, including actual outside the school demonstrations, but many – like at Fairfield High School – were held inside. Students were asked to file into the Fairfield’s large gym. On the basketball court were 17 pairs of sneakers representing each of the shooting victims.

Student leaders spoke. At the end, there was a minute of silence to honor the Florida victims.

“We could not be more proud of our students,” said Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for the 10,000-student district.

At Warren County’s largest school system, Mason High School students walked into a gym – some with arms locked in solidarity – to hear speakers and conduct silent prayers for the victims.

“Students took a moment of silence to honor the victims, heard from a classmate who attended Sandy Hook Elementary at the time of the Newtown tragedy, posted post-its about why they walk, and linked arms together,” said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for the 11,000-student district.

“As a district, we had extra law enforcement presence at all of our schools today, and were able to accommodate the students’ actions safely,” said Carson.

At Butler County’s largest school system, students at Lakota East and Lakota West high schools worked with school administrators on various projects including lobbying local legislators for more gun control, raising money for the victims’ families through bake sales and urging classmates to reach out to students who they don’t know.

Suzanna Davis, the Lakota East principal, said “today students gathered to remember those lost at Stoneman Douglas while showing support for the families and community. In addition, they took the opportunity to challenge each other to spread kindness as a way to support each other.”

Monroe High School saw students gather around the campus flag pole.

About 250 students participated, said Assistant Principal Tom Prohaska, in “support of school safety and to pay respects to those who lost their lives on February 14th. Students remained silent for 17 minutes and immediately returned to their classes afterwards. All students were back in class by 10:25 a.m.”

Private schools participated too. At Middletown’s Fenwick High School, “hundreds of students walked out into the school’s courtyard in solidarity,” said Natalie Hansman, spokeswoman for the Catholic school.

“Three students prepared original prayers to voice their support for the movement and to honor the victims in Parkland. Students named and spoke shortly about each victim while lighting a candle in their honor for all 17 victims. At the end of the vigil, students were invited to sign a poster in honor of the Walkout,” Hansman said.

Fenwick Principal Blane Collison said students “came to me with a well thought out, passion-driven plan for our school to be involved in the Walkout crusade. Prayer and awareness were the main focus for the project, therefore, our Walkout included a prayer service for all students and faculty and staff to participate in and honor the lives of those lost and to acknowledge the impact of gun violence in our communities.”

Middletown High School Principal Carmela Cotter said after students had quietly filed out of the arena, “I could bust. I’m so proud of them. They really feel deeply the loss that happens in these (shooting) events. They made it a real situation for the other students to see and every came together – so silent during all this - and it was so honoring,” she said.

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