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Board to conduct own investigation

By Staff | Nov 5, 2014

The Tyler County Board of Education moved to go into executive session on Monday night to address the issue surrounding Gina Crawford, a teacher at Sistersville Elementary School who was placed on paid administrative leave on July 28.

Crawford was arrested on July 25, along with her live in boyfriend, and both were charged in Tyler County Magistrate Court with felony offenses related to illegal drug activity in Tyler County. She was taken to the North Central Regional Jail and later released on $10,000 bond. The board at that time placed her on 60 days paid leave pending the outcome of her charges in magistrate court. The board later extended the paid leave as the case was continued in magistrate court.

Recently the original charges of felony offense possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver a controlled substance were dismissed and refiled as possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, less than 15 grams. Crawford pleaded guilty to the new charge in magistrate court on Oct. 16, was given a deferred sentence, and placed on six months unsupervised probation.

The board took the position Monday night that no decision could be made at this time in relation to her employment with Tyler County Schools. Crawford will remain on paid administrative leave until they have conducted their own investigation into the matter and Crawford, who was not present at the meeting, is given a fair opportunity to be heard.

Upon returning from executive session Duane Dober, director of human resources for Tyler County Schools, said, “I will tell you what I can tell you, but there are some things I simply cannot tell at this point.” He said, “it’s important that you understand that we have to procedurally do things in the right way, in the right time frame, because any mistakes along that path could cause all of us a lot of difficulty and we want to avoid that.

“No decision can be made at this point other than her status has not changed, she’s still on paid administrative leave and will remain on paid leave until the process is complete,” said Dober. “We have to do what we have to do in the right way and I will tell you, the board wants this matter resolved as quickly as possible.”

A question was asked to Dober if there is a legal reason why this is a paid leave and he responded that, yes, there is. Another question from those in attendance was asked as to how long the paid leave could last. Dober said there was a ruling on Oct. 31 in Cabell County Circuit Court in another case which does not set a time frame on when the paid leave would end.

There was concern about Crawford still having a key to the grounds and buildings. Dober said he would check into that, but he thinks that has already been taken care of. There was one more question as to whether the board had legal representation in the matter, to which Dober answered in the affirmative. With no more questions, the board voted unanimously to adjourn.

The next regular scheduled meeting will be held on Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., at the board office on Dodd Street in Middlebourne.