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Rocky River parents demand thorough investigation after 6 teachers placed on leave

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Posted at 7:51 AM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 07:51:21-04

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio — Rocky River City School District Superintendent Michael Shoaf addressed parents Thursday afternoon outside of the district’s Board of Education Building.

“I understand all the feelings that parents feel right now and I want to get through these actions as quickly as they can and make decisions so we can start this district in the healing process,” said Shoaf.

Wednesday and Thursday evening Shoaf presented members of the board of education with his gatherings from an internal investigation.

“I’m just giving them the fact finding information that I have and that there’s many options on the table, as far as how to resolve this,” he told News 5 regarding the closed executive sessions. “I can’t say a lot because it’s still an ongoing investigation.”

Six teachers are on administrative leave after a video surfaced of teachers talking about a colleague who claimed to have sent them an inappropriate photo of a student. The teachers can also be heard commenting on her appearance.

“You and I are in trouble, in a way,” said one of the teachers in the video. “It would be a terrible way for us to end our career.”

Rocky River police said they looked into the claims and found no photos of a student and closed the case, but days later, they said they were presented with new information and reopened the investigation.

Parents braved Thursday’s snow and cold to demand a thorough investigation from police and district leaders.

“I have trust and faith that they’re going about the right process and will ultimately arrive at the correct decision and correct outcome. The reason I’m here is because I don’t feel like the Rocky River Police Department went about the appropriate and honorable process,” said Patrick Coleman who was disappointed with the way police originally handled the investigation.

April Larow echoed his sentiment and asked district leaders to think about the student’s interests.

"It was very clear that they were talking about a student. It was very clear the kind of image that was being discussed,” said Larow, who organized Thursday’s rally.

One parent said she thought the entire video and conversation was inappropriate.

“The first thing that I thought when I saw the video, is my daughter going to be next? Is this going to happen to my daughter when she goes to high school if we don’t address this right now,” she said.

Shoaf stated that after his investigation is concluded, he will send it to the Ohio Department of Education to conduct its own, internal investigation.

“I don’t want to have to make a decision then have to go back and have to revisit it. At the same time, I want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect the students in the school,” he said. “We are working on a plan right now to help students, to help staff, to help parents because we need to heal. This has been a very bad event for our district and we need to heal.”

RELATED:

No charges to be filed against Rocky River High School teachers, school investigation continues

2 more Rocky River HS staffers placed on administrative leave, 6 total