UL addresses allegations against staff member

BELMONT – School and law enforcement officials are investigating alleged misconduct by a Union Local School District staff member.

During a board of education meeting Thursday, Superintendent Ben Porter said on Wednesday, district officials were notified of allegations against a staff member. Porter said the appropriate authorities were immediately contacted, along with all parties concerned in the allegations.

“Because the investigation is ongoing, Union Local School District can make no further comment at this time,” Porter said.

Gary Smith, legal counsel for the district, said he did not know when officials would be able to release more information. He declined to discuss the nature of the alleged misconduct and would not say whether any student was involved.

The Bethesda Police Department is investigating the matter. Police Chief Eric Smith confirmed that the investigation is ongoing but would provide few details. He said further information may be released next week.

Belmont County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan said the prosecutor’s office had no information about the case on Thursday.

In other business, the Union Local soccer program is moving forward. The board approved a request allowing the soccer parents to form an organized boosters group and to transfer the remaining funds in the soccer account to this group.

Head coach Isaac Clark said this will allow the group to have a tax identification for the purpose of fundraisers.

Clark added that the program was successful last year, with 25 team members last year and about five freshmen expected this year so far. Off-season events have begun.

“We’re getting the numbers up each week. More and more kids are coming out to the gym,” he said, adding that the soccer field installed on campus last year has also proven popular. Nets have been installed behind the goals to keep the balls from going into the woods and the road.

Clark credited the donations and public support and participation with making the program a success.

“This is Union Local Jet country, so public participation is everything,” he said.

Porter also suggested forming a committee to look into creating a gallery at the school commons recognizing the students’ musical achievements along with their athletic and academic ones.

In other matters, credit also went to grant writer Honey Puperi for her assistance in the Christmas basket community outreach project.

Board member Terry Puperi also noted that the Ohio School Boards Association recently recognized the high school art department for its work producing and selling coloring books for fundraising purposes. The project was included in the OSBA newsletter.

The board also approved the purchase of a new spotlight for the auditorium from SLD Light and Sound for a total of $1,500.