WIL­LIAMS VAL­LEY HEAR­ING AGAIN CON­TIN­UED

Sus­pended prin­ci­pal of­fers tes­ti­mony

The Republican Herald - - FRONT PAGE - By vicKi TEr­wiLLiGEr Staff writer

TOWER CITY — Sus­pended Wil­liams Val­ley High School Prin­ci­pal Tracey Weller tes­ti­fied for the first time Tues­day night in a due process hear­ing.

The Wil­liams Val­ley school board again con­tin­ued the hear­ing to a later date at which time the school board will de­cide whether Weller stays em­ployed by the district. The date of the con­tin­u­a­tion was not set. No fur­ther in­for­ma­tion was avail­able as of press time Tues­day.

Dur­ing the hear­ing Tues­day, district res­i­dent Angie Bixler pre­sented an on­line pe­ti­tion she started to re­in­state Weller, which gained 86 sig­na­tures.

The pe­ti­tion states: “The prin­ci­pal of Wil­liams Val­ley High School, Mrs. Tracey Weller is be­ing fired for what we in the com­mu­nity are hear­ing is ‘will­ful mis­con­duct.’ She was standing up for all her stu­dents who she treats as her own and would never put stu­dents in dan­ger. Not only is she a prin­ci­pal of the school, but she is an in­spi­ra­tion to all who have ever met her.

“Some­thing needs to be done to bring her back. She has helped make Wil­liams Val­ley what it is to­day and with­out her noth­ing will be the same. We as a com­mu­nity should do ev­ery­thing in our power to bring her back. Re­in­state Mrs. Weller im­me­di­ately!”

Weller was charged with in­com­pe­tency, will­ful ne­glect and fail­ure to com­ply with school laws of the com­mon­wealth, in­clud­ing of­fi­cial di­rect and es­tab­lished pol­icy of the board of di­rec­tors and vi­o­la­tion of the Penn­syl­va­nia pro­fes­sional stan­dards for a pro­fes­sional em­ployee. She was sus­pended, with­out pay, ef­fec­tive March 2.

The school district dropped its ap­peal for Weller to file work­ers com­pen­sa­tion on the ad­vice of its coun­sel.

The sit­u­a­tion stems from Weller ques­tion­ing stu­dents about a threat­en­ing Fe­bru­ary In­sta­gram post. She was no­ti­fied about the post and while two stu­dents with pos­si­ble in­for­ma­tion on the post­ing were in Weller’s of­fice, the

sus­pect walked in, ac­cord­ing to tes­ti­mony pro­vided. The two stu­dents were later threat­ened out­side school prop­erty by the sus­pect’s brother.

Those who have al­ready tes­ti­fied in­cluded Su­per­in­ten­dent Diane Nieder­riter, and Sgt. Brian Wolfe and Trooper Rob Bly­stone, both of the Lykens bar­racks of the Penn­syl­va­nia State Po­lice.

The due process hear­ing be­gan May 2 and was con­tin­ued to May 22 and Tues­day.

Weller was rep­re­sented by Michael M. Mon­sour with the firm of Ko­zloff Stoudt, Wy­omiss­ing. Weller asked that the hear­ing be pub­lic.

The district ad­min­is­tra­tion was rep­re­sented by Ben­jamin L. Pratt with the law firm of Ober­mayer Reb­mann Maxwell & Hip­pel LLP, Har­ris­burg.

Ni­cholas A. Quinn, Pottsville, the district’s solic­i­tor,

over­saw the hear­ing.

andy MatSko / Staff Pho­tog­ra­Pher

Sus­pended Wil­liams Val­ley High School Prin­ci­pal Tracey Weller tes­ti­fies dur­ing Day 3 of her due process hear­ing Tues­day.

The school board’s solic­i­tor, Ni­cholas A. Quinn, over­sees the due process hear­ing Tues­day.

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