A Hilliard Davidson High School teacher was placed on paid administrative leave Dec. 17 for an “inappropriate” link he posted on a student-course website, according to district officials.
In a Dec. 17 letter to Shawn Parsell, Superintendent John Marschhausen informs Parsell that he is being “placed on paid administrative leave as a teacher” and was directed to not have any contact with any students or staff unless otherwise directed.
In a message to Davidson families, principal Aaron Cookson said Dec. 17 that “an inappropriate link was put into one of our Canvas courses for some students.”
Canvas is a learning-management system used by the district.
The nature of the “inappropriate” link was not revealed by the district, but a parent sent ThisWeek a recording of a student navigating the Canvas app on a smartphone. The video records curriculum modules being accessed in a world-studies class labeled "Parsell," and one of the links titled "French Revolution" leads to what appears to be an external pornographic website.
The link immediately was removed and blocked through district filters, Cookson said.
The inappropriate link was brought to the attention of the district by a student and is an example of the “see something, say something” philosophy working in the school, Cookson said.
“While this directly impacted just a few students, we understand there are many rumors circulating,” he wrote. “We are investigating how this happened and will take steps to prevent it from happening again.”
Suzana Vitanovic, the mother of a Davidson freshman, Izabella "Izzy" Vitanovic, who saw the website while trying to access a PDF for an assignment in Parsell's class, said her concern is for the safety of her daughter and that regardless of whether the link was an accident by Parsell, she does not consider him fit for a classroom.
If Parsell returns to the classroom, she said, she has instructed her daughter to report to the school office.
“I don’t want her in his classroom," Suzana Vitanovic said.
Izzy Vitanovic, 14, said she saw the website while trying to access information for a world-studies class taught by Parsell.
After seeing it, she said, she went to the guidance office, where an administrator told her the incident was being addressed and sent her back to lunch.
“It was supposed to be a link to a PDF, but the school told me it was corrupted,” she said.
When providing more information about Parsell as a teacher, Izzy Vitanovic described him as “invasive,” and although he never touched her, she was “uncomfortable” with him being in her “personal space," she said.
Parsell was reassigned to Davidson for the 2019-20 school year in April as a social-studies teacher, according to district records.
It is not the first time Parsell has been placed on paid administrative leave.
On Feb. 8, 2018, Marschhausen had sent a letter to Parsell informing him he was placed on paid administrative leave and directing him “to remain off school grounds.”
A letter from Marschhausen to Parsell on Dec. 19, 2017, also advised Parsell he was placed on paid administrative leave and directed him to remain off school grounds and to not have contact with students or staff.
Parsell was a teacher at Bradley High School prior to Davidson and served as the girls volleyball coach at Bradley, according to district records.
In a Jan. 23, 2018, email to Cort Hamilton, Bradley athletics director, Parsell wrote “the administration decided to go another direction” with Bradley’s program and “effective immediately I am no longer the head coach.”
District records also indicate that Parsell on Feb. 25 entered into a “last-chance agreement” signed by Parsell, Marschhausen and Mary Kennedy, president of the Hilliard Education Association.
"The next step is up to the district," Kennedy said.
The agreement said Parsell “engaged in inappropriate and unprofessional conduct toward a student who is transgender by directing the student to change clothes even though the student had not violated the student dress code” and threatened to call the student’s parent.
The agreement said Parsell denied making the comments but entered into the agreement “to resolve the differences” with the district.
The agreement also indicates Parsell’s paid administrative leave was converted to an unpaid suspension and further stipulated that if Parsell “engages in any further misconduct of any kind,” the school board “shall have the right and just cause to terminate his employment.”
ThisWeek was unable to reach Parsell for comment.
Check ThisWeekNEWS.com/Hilliard for updates to this story.