West Jefferson teacher suspended
By Kevin Dye
A West Jefferson High School teacher has been suspended for the rest of the school year and has resigned as a coach after unprofessional behavior with a female student.
Social Studies teacher Don Hammer was suspended and then resigned as head coach of the baseball team after an incident in the school with a female student. Superintendent William Mullet said that the incident was not sexual in nature, but was inappropriate and lacked good judgment.“We have an agreement with Mr. Hammer and his representatives,” Mullet said. “Mr. Hammer has been suspended for the rest of the year and 15 of those days are without pay. This was professional misconduct. There was not anything sexual. It was both a statement and actions with a high school student and both were unprofessional. We have high standards for our teachers and employees, and in today’s society you have to be aware of what you say and what you do with a student.”
Monday night the Jefferson Local School Board accepted Hammer’s resignation as high school baseball coach, effective May 4, 2012. Mullet said that Hammer has accepted the suspension as his punishment and is regretful of his actions. Hammer is suspended for the rest of the 2011-12 school year and if there is no further action against him, he would be eligible to return as a teacher in the fall.
The information of the incident has been forwarded by Jefferson Local Schools to the Ohio Department of Education and they will review the incident separate from the district. However, based upon the ODE decision and outcome there could be more consequences for Hammer.
“If there is no further action by the ODE, then he would be able to return in the fall,” Mullett said. “But, if the ODE pulls his license it would not look good for him.”
Assistant high school baseball coach Jeff Young took over the head coaching duties in April, after Hammer was put on leave in April.