Whitehall Superintendent Brian Hamler has recommended a Whitehall-Yearling High School employee be fired after allegations of sexual misconduct with a student surfaced Sept. 5, according to Ty Debevoise, the district's communication director.
The school board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, at Kae Avenue Elementary School, 4750 Kae Ave., to consider a recommendation to fire the part-time employee, effective Sept. 6, according to a meeting agenda.
ThisWeek is not naming the employee because charges had not been filed as of Sept. 10.
The employee, who assists with the high school's drama department, was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 5 after the allegation was raised and the Whitehall Division of Police launched an investigation, according to Ty Debevoise, the district's communication director.
The employee was not allowed to have contact with students or be on school property while on leave, he said.
In an official statement, the school district said the allegation involves "an inappropriate physical relationship between a student and a supplemental drama-department employee."
The Westerville Division of Police is leading the investigation because the reported incidents are believed to have occurred at a residence in Westerville, Debevoise said.
"We are investigating a Whitehall school employee" accused of "sexual contact" with a female under 18 years old, Westerville Lt. Charles Chandler said.
Chandler said Sept. 10 police were not identifying the employee at the time because charges had not been filed.
Investigators do not know whether the sexual contact occurred once or on multiple occasions in the past, he said.
The incident was brought to the attention of Westerville police by Whitehall police, Chandler said.
Whitehall Deputy Chief Dan Kelso said his division handed over the investigation after learning of the alleged location.
The investigation began after a Whitehall student reported the incident to a teacher and the teacher told an administrator, Debevoise said.
The district alerted students, staff members and families of the investigation in a robocall Sept. 5.
"Our aim is not to add speculation or rumors to the situation, but rather to keep our children safe and keep our families informed. We will assist authorities to the best of our abilities as they investigate and find out the facts of this situation," the robocall said in part, according to a transcript tweeted by the school's student newspaper.
The robocall also urged people who have information about "this situation or other incidents" to call 614-417-5101.
Counselors and other resources are available for students who want "to talk things through," Debevoise said.
"This is an investigation by the police department, so the best thing we can do is keep the kids at the forefront of our thoughts," he said. "Student safety is priority No. 1."
Kevin Stankiewicz of The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.