Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Reading teachers resign after e-mail investigation

Three accused of inappropriate use of school computers

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        READING - Three teachers at Reading Junior-Senior High School resigned this week following an investigation regarding improper use of school computers.

        The resignations of high school science teachers Bryan Pennix and Matt Schmittal, along with math teacher Traci Fox, were accepted by the Reading Board of Education Monday.

On paid leave
        Although the resignations don't take effect until June 30, the three teachers will not return to the school of 650 students, said Superintendent Sherry Parr.

        “We have completed an investigation. They will remain on paid administrative leave,” Mrs. Parr said Tuesday. “No students were involved in this matter.”

        The investigation began March 19 after principal Scott Inskeep was alerted to a possible misuse of school computers, Mrs. Parr said. Mr. Pennix and Mr. Schmittal were put on paid leave March 22. Ms. Fox was put on paid leave April 3.

        Mrs. Parr declined to discuss the investigation, which concluded March 29, except to say no criminal wrongdoing was discovered and the investigation centered on inappropriate personal use of a school computer and e-mail during school hours. The computers involved were at the teachers' work stations and were connected to the Internet, Ms. Parr said.

E-mail and Internet use
        “We have to be concerned about use of e-mail and the Internet and make sure it does not interfere with the job we do,” Mrs. Parr said.

        Board member Burchy Schulte said he did not personally see the material questioned during the investigation but agreed it did not belong in a classroom setting.

        “It was pretty cut and dry. It's not stuff we want on the Internet to be in a school setting during the school day,” Mr. Schulte said.

        None of the teachers could be reached for comment.


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