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Retire/Rehire

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    Posted: Jan 05 2015 at 10:06am
From MJ:
Middletown to consider retire/rehire of superintendent
By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer
MIDDLETOWN —
Sam Ison, Middletown’s superintendent for the past two years, hopes to retire and be rehired to his same position, a move that would save the district about $12,000 a year and protect his retirement.

Board President Marcia Andrew will address the board at 6 p.m. today, Jan. 5, to discuss the retire/rehire of Ison. The board is expected to vote of the move at its next meeting, Jan. 26, she said.

She said Ison’s retirement would start June 30, then he’d be rehired for a three-year contract, with the possibility of adding a fourth year. Ison, who makes $127,791 a year, according to district records, would be paid $120,000 a year and would lose his 5 percent incentive bonus, Andrew said.

Andrew said she believes Ison is the “right person” to lead the district and she doesn’t want him to leave Middletown. She said under Ison’s leadership the district’s academic performance is improving and the district passed a bond levy that will build a middle school and renovate the high school.

The move also will assure Ison doesn’t lose some of his retirement benefits, she said. Beginning Aug. 1, new State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio rules take effect, which increase the age and service requirements to receive full or partial benefits. That’s why districts are seeing an increase in the number of staff retiring before the deadline.

The regular board meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. in the City Chambers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 05 2015 at 12:12pm
"Andrew said she believes Ison is the “right person” to lead the district and she doesn’t want him to leave Middletown. She said under Ison’s leadership the district’s academic performance is improving and the district passed a bond levy that will build a middle school and renovate the high school"

The districts performance hasn't been enough to be noticed as improving.

The bond issue passed by 24 votes, hardly an overwhelming endorsement to your new schools.

Both pure embellishment.

"The move also will assure Ison doesn’t lose some of his retirement benefits, she said"

And just why should the taxpayer care if public employees lose some of their retirement when we, in the private sector have seen our retirement input from OUR EMPLOYERS steadily reduced over the years as we are asked to contribute more. Let Ison and the rest do self contributions as we have to do. They are not immune to the financial pains incured in today's working world.

It is ridiculous to see these public employees being as cottled as they are. Enough!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 409 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 05 2015 at 9:54pm
From MJ:
Union members pack meeting to address district needs
By Rick McCrabb

MIDDLETOWN —
Five members of the Middletown Teachers Association questioned the district’s leadership Monday night during a public hearing before the board considered allowing Superintendent Sam Ison to retire and be rehired.

The city council chambers were packed with about 120 members, mostly wearing purple shirts. They stood at the back of the chambers, while others sat in the balcony.

Ison, 58, Middletown’s superintendent for the past two years, hopes to retire and be rehired to his same position, a move that would save the district about $12,000 a year and protect his retirement, said Board President Marcia Andrew. She said the board is expected to vote of the move at its next meeting, Jan. 26.

She said Ison’s retirement would start June 30, then he’d be rehired for a three-year contract, with the possibility of adding a fourth year. Ison, who makes $127,791 a year, according to district records, would be paid $120,000 a year and would lose his 5 percent incentive bonus, Andrew said.

While Andrew called Ison the “right person” for the district, those who represented the union members painted a different picture. They said the district is losing too many quality teachers and Dom Williams, president of the MTA, said 13 Middletown High School teachers have asked the district for letters of recommendations because they’re seeking employment elsewhere.

Williams addressed what he called the three Cs — climate, communication and collaboration.

Aaron Scherrer, a MHS teacher, said an emergency union meeting was recently held and most of the members gave the district and its leadership an unsatisfactory grade. He said more than 100 comments from union members would be forwarded to the board members.

“Take it all to heart because we do,” he told the board.

Ruthie Schultz, a school psychologist for the last six years, told the board she left the district in December, what she called “a heavy decision” because she didn’t want to burden her co-workers.

Schultz said she had back surgery this school year, and was told by school officials that she had to attend a goals meetings, even though she was going to be on approved medical leave. She was told to re-adjust her schedule, and if she didn’t, she could face disciplinary action. She contacted Ison and never received a response, she said.

Scott Colliflower, a social studies teacher at MHS, said he had “no axe to grind” and he had much to lose and nothing to gain by addressing the board.

“I speak from this podium knowing that after these remarks my career in this district will most likely be either cut short or unjustly marred,” he said. “But my conscience will no longer allow me to remain silent. I have watched as the culture and environment of this district descend into an atmosphere of distrust and fear.”

Colliflower said he was “utterly frustrated and so sick of being tired.”

After he addressed the board, he received a standing ovation from the union members.
Andrew said no one who talked Monday night, or at any meeting, would face discipline from the district, a comment that brought laughter from the crowd.

The Rev. Gregory Tyus, school board vice president, applauded the members for voicing their displeasure with the district.

“I hope your boldness doesn’t end tonight,” he said.

Tyus, who has worked with four superintendents during his time on the board, called Ison a “workable individual” and added: “At least we know what we have.”
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 05 2015 at 10:40pm
Paraphrasing Tyus, 'Devil you know better than the Devil you don't".

40 years of Middletown lacking meaningful leadership in school district and city hall/ council.

Spiral down Middletown, spiral down.
'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 06 2015 at 8:20am
Tyus:

"The Rev. Gregory Tyus, school board vice president, applauded the members for voicing their displeasure with the district.

“I hope your boldness doesn’t end tonight,” he said.

Tyus, who has worked with four superintendents during his time on the board, called Ison a “workable individual” and added: “At least we know what we have.”"

So, in other words, Tyus is speaking out both sides of his mouth.

In essence, he is saying "I support your stance, want to see you teachers push for change in your workplace and respect your boldness in voicing your complaints.......BUT, I'm still going to support Ison even though I know he is a catalyst and, as superintendent, is the responsible party for the displeasure, due to his inability to lead.........AND, he is a workable individual even though I now know there is conflict under his guidance. AND, (this is a good one from Tyus)...."at least we know what we have"

    WHAT? Is that a reason for supporting Ison, knowing that "what you have" is turmoil within the ranks? Incredible logic from Tyus. Shouldn't each and every member of the school board be questioning what is going on here before they rubber stamp approval for Ison? How about second guessing your knee-jerk decisions once in a while.

Sounds like we have some internal strife within the land of "academic paradise". How can that be, when Ms. Andrew and the rest of the school board would have us believe that "all is well" in the Middletown School District where new schools are built, new programs are in place and academic success is on the rise?(even though the data doesn't show it) This story does not indicate that claim and there may be "trouble in paradise". Imagine that.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 06 2015 at 9:59am
My guess is that because the board and administration is trying very hard to improve the district's performance they are ruffling some feathers. There needs to be a culture change and a change in the way some of the teachers teach. Some of the teachers will object and will voice their objections. I take this as a good sign that the board and admin are actually holding teachers more accountable and are working to change the teaching procedures.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Stanky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 06 2015 at 12:14pm
A serious reporter/paper would have tried to ask the teachers WHAT they are objecting to. The article gave no indication what they are disgruntled about.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 06 2015 at 12:37pm
A serious reporter/paper would have tried to ask city hall and HUD months ago, why the Section 8 program went to Hamilton, with no answer as previously stated to be made in September at the latest.

A serious reporter/ paper would have asked Tyus why it was bold to have a teacher union raise concerns about lack of email responses w/o firstly going to the Superintendent a second time.

A serious reporter/ paper would have noted in the private sector, a middle to upper manager would have been fired by going to the Board of Directors to blast the CEO before they renewed his contract.

But, neither the paper, BOE, nor city council, nor leaders....are serious players.

Chalk up another embarrassing highlight for Middletown.

If Isom doesn't work out,. maybe they can hire Marvin Lewis. He'll love the complacency.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote over the hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 06 2015 at 1:24pm
The fact that city hall can't tell the details of the HUD agreement tells us they're lying about something. Obviously HUD saw some questionable behavior by Judy and Doug in civil rights violations. Their expensive lawyer got them a sweet deal,move the program or face the violations. Doug will continue to spin it. So we may have to wait to find out the truth but I don't think it will come from him. IMO
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 06 2015 at 4:12pm
Originally posted by processor processor wrote:

My guess is that because the board and administration is trying very hard to improve the district's performance they are ruffling some feathers. There needs to be a culture change and a change in the way some of the teachers teach. Some of the teachers will object and will voice their objections. I take this as a good sign that the board and admin are actually holding teachers more accountable and are working to change the teaching procedures.


IMO, neither side (the school board/administration) nor the teachers are producing acceptable results for the taxpayer. There is no "bang for the buck" for the people and hasn't been for years. Throwing money down the rat hole in new buildings, operational levies, continuing levies, emergency levies, bond levies and all other opportunities to fleece money from the people is standard procedure.

The teacher's attitudes indicate they are spoiled and pampered and want it all their way with no attempt to understand the admin. nor school board.

The admin. and school board indicate they do not want to listen to the worker bees (teachers) and could care less about making improvements that will actually yield stronger performance. They just want their fancy schools with all the latest bells and whistles (never mind the outcome has been abysmal in the elementaries built) and have never indicated that they need to be held accountable to the people for what comes from their efforts.

BOTH sides are to blame in their respective stances and both have performed pathetically for the ultimate customer....the taxpayer. We are not and have not gotten our money's worth out of this school district. It has been a bad investment for all of us taxpayers as we continue to throw money down the black hole of stagnation. This district is either falling backward or stuck in neutral. Going forward is out of the question with the current crop of players. If the school district progressed as well as it embellishes with pathetic attempts to conceal the truth, we may see some improvement.

processor:

"There needs to be a culture change and a change in the way some of the teachers teach."

Yeah, and there also needs to be a culture change on the other side in the "business as usual no matter how poor the performance may be", "My goal is to set myself up for a rosy retirement and double dip", and the "taxpayer, just continue to give us the money for what we want and ignore that we aren't producing/I'm not accountable for my lousy performance" mindset also. That includes admin., the school board attitudes and the teacher's side of the issue.

The whole academic attitude gives the impression of selfishness, egotism and self-righteousness. I would imagine that we, in the private sector, are tired of viewing this pompous behavior.....from both sides.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 409 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 11 2015 at 8:38am
From MJ:
Teachers union: Middletown Schools need leadership change

Superintendent remains confident in direction of district
By Rick McCrabb

Staff Writer
MIDDLETOWN —
As Middletown City Schools’ board of education mulls whether the district’s superintendent be allowed to retire and then be rehired for as many as four years, members of the district’s teachers union are painting a picture of a district in disarray and in need of leadership changes.

Superintendent Sam Ison, who has been with the district for two years, told the Journal-News he feels confident in his vision for Middletown Schools and its 6,200 students. However, during a board meeting last week where members considered Ison’s retire/rehire, more than 100 of the Middletown Teachers Association’s 400 members voiced their displeasure with the leadership and direction of the district.

“Societies, businesses, and communities function not just on the vision of their leaders, but also on the ability of their leaders to elicit positive movement, enlist appropriate support and establish healthy relationships,” Aaron Scherrer, a Middletown High School chemistry teacher, said.

MTA president Dom Williams said teachers are leaving the district at a growing rate.

After the 2010-11 school year, when there was an incentive for early retirement, 29 teachers left the district, according to Williams. The following year, 13 teachers left the district, he said.

In 2013-14, the number of teachers who left rose to 66, and so far this school year, 26 have announced plans to leave, he said.

Teachers in the district has been “far too passive and far too quiet for far too long,” Scherrer said.

District-level administration has made the teachers’ work environment “tenuous at best, and poisonous at worst. We have and are, losing some extremely talented educators, certainly at the expense of our community and schools,” he said.

Ison said he has heard numerous complaints, mostly general. He said he understands some teachers may be leery to address certain issues, especially in a public forum, but he encouraged them to list their specific concerns.

“I’m not a vindictive person,” he said. “That’s not my style. They can talk to me. They may not agree with me. As a leader, you have to listen.”

Before last week’s school board meeting, 328 of the nearly 400 union members participated in a two-question survey, Williams said.

The first question asked teachers to rate the current overall working climate of the district in terms of promoting a healthy, positive and productive environment.

On a scale of one to five, with one being the worst, 68 percent, or 223 teachers, gave the district a one rating. Twenty-three percent, or 78 teachers, gave the district a two; 23 teachers gave it a three; and four teachers gave it a four. No teacher answered a five.

The second question asked teachers their projected overall working climate if the district continues on its path for two years.

More than 70 percent gave the district a one; 20 percent gave it a two; 8 percent gave it a three; and four teachers gave it a four. No teacher answered a five.

Williams said the union membership wants to hear some rationale and be told what direction the district is headed.

“We are an important group because we work directly with those kids every day. We need to know those things are being answered before a decision is made (about Ison’s retire/rehire). We need to know we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

Ison, 58, wants to retire then be rehired for three more years, with the possibility of a fourth year. He has agreed to return for $120,000 a year and eliminate his 5 percent bonus, moves that would save the district about $12,000 a year, said Marcia Andrew, board president. Ison’s 2014 salary was $123,791.

The school board is expected to vote on the move at its next meeting Jan. 26.

From now until the board meeting in three weeks, MTA members said they expect better communication and more collaboration between the administration and the teachers, and an improved work environment. Ison said he understands some of the teachers’ frustrations, and he’s seeking ways to improve relations in the district.

“We have more work to do, more communication to do,” he said Thursday morning in his office. “I need to look at different directions how I want to get to the ultimate goal: students’ success.”

Andrew said she was surprised by the number of union members who attended last week’s meeting. After hearing from five MTA representatives during the meeting and the getting a promise of follow up emails from others, she said the board needs to “dig deeper” to discover what is causing disgruntled employees.

It’s important, she said, to find out if union members are concerned about the possible employment of Ison or what she called “a broader issue.”

She said she has always encouraged those with concerns to address them with school board members, their union representatives or the district’s administration, namely Ison. That way, she said, what she called “a big dramatic moment” like the packed house at the board meeting, can be averted.

“We work better together,” she said, adding everyone is concerned about the “success of the kids.”

Ison said he wants to be rehired for two major reasons: He said the district is improving its academic scores and he wants to oversee the school building project.

Middletown Schools is planning to build a middle school and renovate Middletown High School at an estimated $77 million price tag after voters narrowly approved a bond issue and permanent operating levy in May.

“I feel we are right on the cusp of something great,” he said.

It’s his goal to improve the two Fs the district scored on the state report card. He said the district passed seven of the nine categories and received an A in value added, meaning the students grew tremendously academically from one year to the next.

“We need to work together,” Middletown teacher Scott Colliflower, who has been with the district for 11 years, told board members during last week’s meeting. “The teachers, community, and especially the students of Middletown deserve respect and policies that are tailored to the needs and nuances of this town and its people. We deserve better than to be known as the ‘the island of misfit toys.’”

His statement received a standing ovation from union members.

When Williams was asked whether Ison was the “right person” for the job as Andrew has said, he stumbled over the question for several seconds.

Finally, he said, “It’s a decision for the board and we’re hoping that they hear us.”

Scherrer, however, was less politically correct.

“If he’s rehired, I’ll be very disappointed,” said Scherrer, who has 13 years of teaching experience, eight in Middletown. “That means they (the board) can’t hear our message. Things have to change.”

“There is too much smoke not to be fire,” he said. “This is not a healthy working environment. There is a lack of trust and we never get any positive support.”

While Ison said he remains confident in his vision for the district, this month will weigh on his mind.

“You got to know something about me. I’m very humble,” he said. “My fate is in the powers that be. Two years ago, when I first got here, we decided our focus was going to be success for each student. As long as I’m doing what I believe in, I leave that decision up to the board. I’m confident I’m doing the right thing.”
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bumper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 11 2015 at 9:03am
looks like all good teachers have got out of dodge!!  imagine that !!   2010-11 school year, when there was an incentive for early retirement, 29 teachers left the district, according to Williams. The following year, 13 teachers left the district, .In 2013-14, the number of teachers who left rose to 66, and so far this school year, 26 have announced plans to leave.. at this rate there will be no teachers in that fancy purdy new school Confused you can bet the word is out too all that teach!! STAY AWAY from MSD for it has huge problems!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 11 2015 at 9:53am
Ison:

“I feel we are right on the cusp of something great,” he said     

And just what would that greatness be, Mr. Ison? Again, the "Embellishment Program" looks like it is the only program offered by the schools that may have a chance of working.

(Andrew)...That way, she said, what she called “a big dramatic moment” like the packed house at the board meeting, can be averted.

Was the packed house/eye-opening numbers a tad bit embarrassing for your school board, Ms. Andrew? Could have been an indictment on the situation with the schools and a problem that had been festering for a long time. As I recall, the teachers (as well as the community) weren't happy with Price either, but you kept him on board for seven years before you did the right thing in firing him. This article indicates that Ison has the same issue....IE, a lack of communication skills with the subordinates. On the other hand, it is a typical scenario in the working world no matter where you work. Management doesn't care to talk to, nor care about the workers.

The survey numbers certainly didn't present a positive picture under the Ison regime, did it? Are you school board members sure you want to rehire him and extend his contract for 3 or 4 more years? Think that's a good idea? Think you might have another "Price problem" underway in your schools?

Ison:

"It’s his goal to improve the two Fs the district scored on the state report card. He said the district passed seven of the nine categories and received an A in value added, meaning the students grew tremendously academically from one year to the next."

Horsecrap Ison. You have two F's. You've been stuck on continuous improvement for a decade or more. Each time the proficiency results are printed, little progress has been made, in any grade, in any category. You still have only met 6 of 23 indicators, which the school supporters have conveniently stopped mentioning. The district is, and has been for a decade or more, the lowest performing district in the area and one of the poorest performers in the state. Stop the value added nonsense and improve the grades! "Value added" is the only card in your hand and it's the only one you have to lean on. Stop with the smokescreens already.

Ison:

While Ison said he remains confident in his vision for the district, this month will weigh on his mind.

“You got to know something about me. I’m very humble,” he said. “My fate is in the powers that be. (Tarot cards or psychic perhaps?) Two years ago, when I first got here, we decided our focus was going to be success for each student. As long as I’m doing what I believe in, I leave that decision up to the board. I’m confident I’m doing the right thing.”

How can you tell you are doing the "right thing" if the data that you have produced by your efforts doesn't support your "right thing" theory? Look, this district has not produced to an acceptable level for so long, it has lost track of what success is and the path to take to gain that success. Change your methods, refocus, redo your programs.....start from the beginning AND DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. Emulate a successful district. Ask them what they are doing that you are not. You are on the wrong course. Years of failure should have told you that.






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 11 2015 at 10:26am
Teachers leave when able to take the better OPERS retirement and to get into a system which they have a reasonable chance of meeting objectives tied to results, when yiu have decent students. No more complicated than that.

Board wants to retain Ison because they feel he passed the levy, all they care about.

Board is lazy, union is too. Public system terribly broken and should be dismantled.

Middletown will be on current ranking for many years. Ison just feeling gap and Board wants him on board to see schools built.

Morons voted to pass it. Typical Middletown mentality. Acceptance of sub mediocre standards.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 11 2015 at 2:42pm
Humor me.

Recall when Marcia Andrew stated you had to spend money to make money, associated with the $150,000-250,000 spent on attorney fees to Frost Brown and Todd law firm to bring Franklin kids into the system.

Now the BOE is so concerned about  saving chump change 12,000 yearly, they simply MUST double dip appoint Ison to be rehired as part of their financial oversight duty to the taxpayer. Tears in eyes from laughing so hard on that one. They waste 2-3 times that on school levy campaign funding.

And teachers have a problem with Ison? Ohio is so cookie cutter, standardized, every Superintendent follows the same guidelines. The teachers also report to their respective Principals, so if they are upset, that is their span of control point of contact. So their real complaint is Ison doesn't give them double digit raises and indicate daily, how they all walk on water. The nerve of him.

The Journal enjoys rattling the cage, and getting another local story to count for their quota.

Entitlement is wearing thin.

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 11 2015 at 8:38pm
acclaro:

"Morons voted to pass it. Typical Middletown mentality. Acceptance of sub mediocre standards."

Bingo. And there is the whole problem with this city and the schools. The people living in this town would rather lay down and fade away rather than fill the booths at voting time and vote the school board members and city council out, replacing them with competency and follow that act by filling the council chamber and demanding that council fire the city manager and insist the rest who agree with him step down, replacing all of those positions with competency. Planning, Econ. Dev., Finance, Legal, Public Works......all leadership needs to go. Anyone agreeing with the Mayor or the MMF......gone. The downtown development moves to last on the list with Econ Dev./ removing all the social ills (lessen crime/downsize Section 8/low income to the correct level/stop helping the heroin users) replacing it as most important.

Only way to change this city and it's downward direction.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdmundBurke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 12 2015 at 5:55am
Tennessee recently became the first state to enact a workplace anti-bullying law that applies to public-sector employers. Under the law, “abusive conduct” refers to acts or omissions that would cause a reasonable person, based on the severity, nature, and frequency of the conduct, to believe that an employee was subject to an abusive work environment, such as:

(A) Repeated verbal abuse in the workplace, including derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets;
(B) Verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating, or humiliating nature in the workplace; or
(C) The sabotage or undermining of an employee’s work performance in the workplace.

Based on reports from teachers and other Middletown Schools’ employees that now are reaching school board members’ ears, it sounds like we could use such a law here in Ohio.
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