Saturday, April 01, 2000

Sex case troubling to district

Enquirer Contributor

        DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP — Additional counselors will be brought to Kings Junior High School on Monday to talk with students in the aftermath of science teacher Lisa Karabinus' admission that she had sexual intercourse with a male student.

        Junior high students were on quarterly, all-day academic field trips Friday and not in classes, said Linda Oda, district spokeswoman.

        School officials said they did not believe any other students were involved in similar incidents with Mrs. Karabinus. She was put on paid administrative leave when the allegations surfaced Monday until her resignation was accepted Friday in a special school board meeting.

        Warren County Prosecutor Tim Oliver said Thursday there were no allegations of sex between Mrs. Karabinus and other boys at the school. However, he declined comment when asked if police were questioning other students.

        “We think this is an isolated incident. We have no evidence to believe otherwise,” Mrs. Oda said Friday.

        The eighth-grade boy in the incident has been in school all week.

        “My heart goes out to the families that are involved in this,” said Superintendent David Query, who talked with the District Parent Council on Friday. “It's a difficult situation for everybody and it's put a black mark on our profession.”

        A letter from Mr. Query advising parents of the availability of counselors in all Kings Schools was sent home with students Friday. In the letter, Mr. Query refers to Mrs. Karabinus' actions only as a serious incident involving a teacher and a student at Kings Junior High.

        “We didn't want to send notes home that dealt with a sexual matter home with our little ones,” Mrs. Oda said. “Our concern was the kids would read the note on the way home from school.”

        Parent Jean Zito, who heads Kings' District Parent Council and has a son at the junior high, said those on the council support the district's handling of the situation.

        “It's a tragedy on all fronts,” Mrs. Zito said. “We're very pleased with the way the district has handled the situation. This is an excellent school district in a good community. I'm sure we can work through this. I have great faith in our excellent administrators and their choices in teachers.”

        Mrs. Karabinus' husband, John, a social studies teacher at the junior high and assistant high school varsity football coach, is on paid administrative leave through April 24.

        An attorney from the Ohio Department of Education's professional conduct team has been in contact with Warren County officials, said ODE spokeswoman Carly Glick. Mrs. Karabinus will be sent a letter next week informing her of a 60-day license suspension with the intent to permanently revoke it.

        She was granted a four-year license to teach students in grades 7-12 in 1992, Ms. Glick said. It was renewed for eight years in 1996.

        “I do think this is a rare occurrence,” Ms. Glick said.

        In the last two years, there have been 18 incidents for which Ohio teachers have either lost or voluntary surrendered their licenses over incidents of a sexual nature. The state report does not indicate whether those incidents involved students.


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