Charter schools at center of complaints to Ohio Board of Ed

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 @ 3:53 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 @ 3:53 PM


            Dayton charter school under investigation by FBI

A Dayton charter school raided by the FBI last month now will be the center of an investigation by the Ohio Department of Education after allegations that included student sex acts, attendance rate falsification and test tampering.

Four former employees of the Dayton Horizon Science Academy, 250 Shoup Mill Road, testified in front of the department of education in Columbus on Tuesday and said students engaged in oral sex while others watched.

"I don't think parents had any idea what was going on at the school," said Kellie Kockensparger, who taught at the Dayton charter school for three years before leaving for another Dayton-area teaching job last March.

Kockensparger and another former employee, Richard Storrick, accused the school of allowing sexual activity to occur during classes and other school-related functions.

According to Kockensparger, the school "failed to tell parents that their kids were suspended for having oral sex outside of the building where they were supposed to be inside attending a school-sponsored after-school cultural festival."

The sex acts reportedly were captured on surveillance video, Kockensparger said.

Horizon Science Academy is a public charter school that provides its students with an innovative education, rich in math, science and technology, according to the school's website.

The Dayton Daily News received a written statement from Concept Schools, the parent organization that manages Horizon Science Academy, after the newspaper asked for comment.

"Like any public charter school, we are accountable to the families we serve. As part of that, we prioritize ensuring a school environment that is safe, professional and one that supports students, faculty and staff," the statement read. "As we move forward, we continue to maintain the highest standards of excellence for our students, our faculty and ourselves."

Storrick, who taught math for two-plus years there, said some students participated in a sex game during a middle school math class.

"A sex game was going on while the teacher was trying to teach," Storrick said. "More than once a male student put his hand on a girl's knee and asked, 'are you nervous?' "

If the female student said no, the male student would move his hand up her thigh.

"The game was not a one-time occurrence, yet the teacher did nothing, insisting he didn't know about the game. The school's director was told about the incident, did nothing and rehired the teacher the following year," Storrick said.

The nearly hour-long testimony left some of the state school board members disturbed.

"Inside, my blood is boiling," board member Deb Cain said. "We as a state board and as a department of education, we have got to get to the bottom of this, and every single allegation needs to be investigated to the fullest."

Board President Debe Terhar told the employees who testified that the state will take the allegations seriously.

"We hear you, we will move forward to make sure that this is investigated," Terhar said.

Other former employees, including teacher Tim Neary, said the school is covering up other issues.

"School administrators clearly lied about attendance. I never had a full class and they'd say the school had a 97 percent attendance rate," Neary said. " There was no oversight at all."

Neary also said the school potentially tampered with standardized tests.

"All the tests would go into one room, with an administrator behind a locked door. Nobody else got to see what was going on," Neary told the board.

Horizon Science Academy of Dayton is one of 19 schools in Ohio affiliated with an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, and began operating under Concept Schools management in 1999.

On June 4 the FBI served a search warrant in connection to a "white-collar crime," but the bureau did not disclose any additional details about its investigation of the organization.

Suspect in pharmacy robberies being booked into jail

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 2:54 PM

Police in Dayton have a man in custody who is suspected of robbing multiple pharmacies in recent weeks.

The suspect was escorted from police headquarters over to the Montgomery County Jail where he is expected to be booked in on multiple aggravated robbery charges.

The suspect’s identity and details of his arrest, as well as details of the investigation, have not been released.

There have been several pharmacies robbed in recent weeks in the Dayton area. 

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Police: Adult killed in crash, where child rescued, had been shot

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 3:22 AM
Updated: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 6:55 AM

UPDATE @ 2:59 p.m.:

A man that was found dead following a crash on James H. McGee Blvd. had been shot, police sources said.

Investigators have not yet released the driver’s identity, pending notification of next of kin. A cause and manner of the man’s death also have not been released.

UPDATE @ 6:55 a.m. 

All lanes of North James H. McGee Boulevard reopened shortly before 6:50 a.m. 

UPDATE @ 4:05 a.m. 

Dayton police said a man in his mid-20s was killed and a child injured in a single-vehicle crash on North James H. McGee Boulevard.

>> Read the latest local stories in the Miami Valley 

The car slammed into a tree near the intersection of North James H. McGee Boulevard and Edison Street around 3:05 a.m. Monday. 

Officers said when bystanders arrived to help, they found the child standing outside the car by himself. The child was transported to an area hospital but his condition was not available. 

Police added they didn’t see a car seat inside the vehicle while investigating the crash. 

Police said they are working to determine if speed was a factor in the crash. 

Investigators said both directions of North James H. McGee Boulevard will be blocked between Rosedale Drive and Edison Street until 7 a.m. Edison Street is also blocked at North James H. McGee Boulevard. 

UPDATE @ 3:45 a.m. 

Dispatchers confirm one person has died in a crash on North James H. McGee Boulevard in Dayton. 

A child inside the vehicle was injured and transported to a local hospital for treatment. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 3:25 a.m. 

An adult and young child are reportedly injured in the crash on North James H. McGee Boulevard at Edison Street. 

The adult has reportedly suffered serious injuries. The condition of the child was not immediately known. 

We have a crew on the was and we’ll update this page as new details become available. 

FIRST REPORT

At least one person is reported trapped inside a vehicle following a crash near the intersection of North James H McGee Boulevard and Edison Street in Dayton.

Emergency crews were dispatched around 3:05 a.m. Monday and requested additional crews to respond after at least one person was found trapped inside the vehicle. 

Initial reports indicate the driver was unconscious after the crash. 

We’re monitoring this developing story and we’ll update this page when new details become available. 

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Patrol arrests man suspected of firing shots in Sidney

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 1:33 PM

A man suspected of firing shots in Sidney was stopped and arrested today by troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol Piqua Post.

The suspect was riding a motorcycle when he was stopped on an exit ramp from I-75 South between Piqua and Troy.

The motorcyclist was wanted after police in Sidney received a call at 12:13 p.m. that a motorcyclist at Laser Fab, 1528 Fair Road, was shooting a firearm into the air and building, according to Sidney Police Capt. J.A. Tangeman.

The motorcyclist fled at a high rate of speed, but his description and direction of travel was communicated to the Ohio State Highway Patrol Piqua Post, and troopers were able to stop the suspect and taken into custody at the 78 ramp on I-75 South, Tangeman said.

The investigation is ongoing. 

The incident prompted Emerson Elementary, Sidney Middle and High Schools to temporarily go on lockdown.

Memorial Day ceremony set

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 2:45 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 11:  Gulf War veteran Bill Virill, retires U.S. Army, attends a Veterans Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial November 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Originally established as Armistice Day in 1919, the holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower, and honors those who have served in the U.S. military.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The American Legion Post 707 is hosting their annual Memorial Day ceremony on Saturday, May 27 at the Northmont High School football field memorial site, 4916 National Road, in Clayton. The start time of the ceremony is 10 a.m.

»Related: Must-see Memorial Day events, deals in Dayton

The ceremony activities will include bag pipes played by Chief Jim Michaels, a flag presentation by United States Army, the main address presented by retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Major Michael White, and the presentation of the wreath by the United States Navy. 

The ceremony is open to all community residents.