Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 3, 2009

5 staffers at Granite City school district in trouble

GRANITE CITY, Ill. (AP) — There's plenty of misbehavior at schools in the small southern Illinois community of Granite City, but it's the staff — not the students — who keep getting into trouble.

Five employees, including a truancy officer and a high school vice principal, have either recently been fired or are under investigation.

"It's unprecedented. It really is. It's something that I've never encountered," said Granite City School District Superintendent Harry Briggs. "And it seems like everything has just come together all at one time ... I'm hopeful to get to Christmas and not have any more incidents."

Briggs wouldn't release the names of any of the staff involved.

The truancy officer was fired this week for misconduct that Briggs said bordered on sexual discrimination and involved an e-mail message to a female secretary and a text message to a fellow officer.

The school board has hired a private detective agency to investigate a high school vice principal who is on paid leave.

"There were some innuendoes and accusations by a number of different sources," Briggs said of the vice principal. He did not elaborate on the nature of the allegations.

In addition, a girls volleyball coach and teacher's aide are accused of misbehavior involving students and alcohol.

The staff problems emerged when a 37-year-old special education teacher resigned in October after being accused of having inappropriate conduct with an 18-year-old student. She's denied any wrongdoing, and no criminal charges were filed.