HICKSVILLE — The Hicksville Exempted Village Schools Board of Education heard comments from multiple visitors regarding a verbal incident between a student and a high school guidance counselor in September during Monday’s monthly meeting.

In the words of one of the visitors, the counselor “berated a student for 15 minutes” during a meeting in September, a meeting that was recorded by the student.

Of the roughly 20 public visitors to the meeting, around eight spoke and expressed a desire to see the counselor put on leave or released as a school employee.

The board thanked the visitors for their input and informed them that they would continue to investigate the situation.

During administrative reports to the board, high school principal Jeff Slattery noted that the recent parent-teacher conferences on Oct. 20-21 had an increase in attendance and also noted that the recent Veterans’ Day assembly was a success and appreciated the efforts of staff members involved and thanked the local veterans for their attendance and service.

Slattery also congratulated Innovative Interviews team members Trista Bond, Dlaney Begley and Olivia Clark for advancing to the finals of the competition on Nov. 4 at Defiance College. The trio, advised by Josh Freese, will compete in the spring at a location to be announced later.

Superintendent Keith Countryman noted that Eric Vetter will be the newest Hicksville Board of Education member beginning in January and congratulated Vetter.

Countryman also informed the board of his weekly COVID-19 notifications and that cases have remained consistent on a week to week basis with around two reported positive cases but not more than five in any week. Countryman urged parents to keep their children home when sick or running a fever as flu cases start to rise.

Finally, Countryman started a discussion regarding starting a new position to work with special education students as a special education director or student services director as the district has approximately 18 to 20 percent of students identified as special needs students with an individualized education program.

“This position would be a great asset to the district and a huge help to our three principals as well as our psychologist,” explained Countryman. “I am in the process of gathering information from other districts on a job description, wages and other items surrounding the position.”

In other business, the board:

• congratulated Hicksville Middle School spelling bee champion Jordys Vance and runner-up Hannah Ridgway after the bee was held Monday. Both will compete in the Defiance County Spelling Bee on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. at Ayersville.

• accepted donations of $113.04 from Betty Guilford for STEM, $500 from Ohio State Eagles Charity Fund for Student of the Quarter and 12 volleyballs from Adam and Rebecca Zeedyk.

• approved supplemental contracts for Dave Blue (head girls track coach), Andrew Lawrence (head softball coach), Paul Payne (head boys track coach), Liz Perna (junior class advisor, one-third, and prom advisor, one-third), Natalie Zachrich (archery advisor), Kara Miser (freshman girls basketball coach), Tim Shock (head baseball coach), Ein DeWitt (assistant wrestling coach) and Jay Sowles (head junior high wrestling coach).

• approved Jeff Schroeder (softball) and Bailey Tear (boys basketball) as volunteer coaches.

• approved a $20 daily maximum for professional leave reimbursement, a $400 stipend for Highly Quality Student Data members beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

• approved Jan. 10, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. as the date and time for the 2022 organizational board meeting and appointed Galen Methvin as president pro-tem.

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