News

Portage County teacher plans appeal over firing for Facebook posts

AURORA: A third-grade social studies teacher who was notified the school board was considering terminating her contract for alleged “inappropriate” Facebook posts will be appealing her dismissal after the school year begins.

The Aurora City Schools board voted June 25 to appoint a referee to review the district’s allegations against teacher Amy Vajdich.

A May 22 letter from the district to Vajdich stated the district was terminating her contract for “good and just cause.”

She could not be reached for comment.

Ohio law requires a school board to notify a teacher in writing when considering termination and provide specific reasons and examples explaining why. A teacher then has 10 days to contest the allegations and demand a hearing, according to Stow attorney Ronald Alexander, who was selected as the referee from a list provided by the Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Vajdich, who taught third grade at Leighton Elementary School, was suspended without pay on June 19 following a Facebook post that the Aurora Board of Education deemed “inappropriate.” She then asked for a hearing to consider the case for her possible termination.

Alexander will preside over a grievance hearing that will take place after the start of the school year on Aug. 15, according to Aurora City Schools Treasurer Bill Volosin.

“By law, the individual can request it not be in the summer months, which they have, so it will probably be after school starts in the middle of August,” Volosin said.

During the hearing, both the Board of Education and the Aurora Education Association, Aurora’s teachers union, will present their sides to the referee.

After the hearing, Alexander will present his findings and a recommendation to the school board on whether to terminate or continue the teacher’s contract. This must be completed within 10 days of the hearing. A school board can vote to accept or reject the referee’s finding.

“Depending on how he rules, then either side could just accept it and be done with it and move on,” Volosin said.

If either side does not agree with the ruling, they could appeal to the Portage County Common Pleas Court for another hearing with a judge and jury, which would have the final ruling on the case.

One of Vajdich’s alleged posts cited by the board of education criticizes students and parents for children’s doing the “floss dance,” a trendy dance move that was seen on Saturday Night Live last year during a performance by Katy Perry. The remaining two Facebook posts cited in the termination letter had no context surrounding them. The April 21 post referred to an unnamed woman pulling something from her cleavage and the Oct. 8 post referenced how men view women and included a sexually explicit hashtag.

School officials would only say the reason for Vajdich’s possible termination was “misconduct” and offered no further comment on advice from counsel.

Vajdich has been a teacher for Aurora City Schools since 2007, according to her personnel file. Prior to that she was employed by Solon City Schools and West Geauga Local Schools. She was making $77,679.

The post Portage County teacher plans appeal over firing for Facebook posts appeared first on Ohio.com.

Advertisements

Categories: News

Leave a Reply