Washington Local board upholds ban to keep Hickey off property

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - During the last meeting of 2017, the Washington Local School board had some important decisions to make.

At the top of the list was whether to pass a one-time waiver that would allow Patrick Hickey on school property to attend the first board meeting of the new year.

"I don't want [my son] to have a role model who doesn't know how to control his own behavior," Tina Wagner, a Washington Local parent said.

Wagner is one of many people who have objections to allowing the former superintendent on district property and they've been vocal.

"Hopefully with more people speaking out in any way, then the message will get through," Kathy Mayfield, a Washington Local graduate said.

The opposition is concerned about how the situation will affect employees and students in the district.

"I think the ban should be kept in place. I don't think he should be allowed on school property or around staff or students," Cindy Perry, who ran for school board said.

Wednesday night, the majority of the board voted the measure down and also said "no" to moving the meeting to an off property location.

The former superintendent resigned in 2015 following numerous allegations including inappropriate contact with staff and students and misappropriation of district funds. Allegations that Hickey denies.

Shortly thereafter, Hickey was banned from all district property following an incident during a basketball game.

But in November, Hickey was elected to the WLS school board who now has to decide how they're going to move forward.

"I think this district can heal," David Hunter, board president, said. "I think we can move forward. There will be some tough decision making in January but it has to be addressed."

While many agreed with the board's decision, they still wanted to have their say. But some strict guidelines on public comment kept them from talking any specifics. It was a move that left many feeling stifled.

"I'm disappointed to see that those comments were cut short," Mayfield said.

Hunter maintains he did it to protect the district saying, "there are too many legal issues that have to remain confidential and be discussed between the board attorneys representing both parties."

As for the man at the center of it all, Hickey says he was expecting the board to make this call.

"It's vindictive, it's awful, it's arbitrary, but it's almost over," he told 13abc. "I can't wait for the next 48 months to get back to the kids and staff and community that voted me in."

He adamantly denies all allegations against him and says by the time his term is up there will be no more community divide.

"This is the beginning of four years of healing. The last two years have been awful and the community has seen that," he said.

In the meantime, Hunter says he will propose the same options in January, with the new board. No matter what they decide, he says they have to come up with a permanent solution.