Principal suspended without pay for allegedly restraining student with chain
By Katie Byard, staff writer Beacon Journal, May 24, 2006

By The Southeast school board on Tuesday took steps to fire Southeast Intermediate School Principal Rich Arnold, who has been accused of unusual discipline tactics.

The board voted 3-2 in favor of action recommended by Southeast Superintendent Linda Fuline. Arnold will now be suspended without pay.

Fuline placed Arnold on paid leave April 24 after the mother of a student accused Arnold of wrapping a heavy chain around her 10-year-old son, restraining him for about three minutes.

Arnold can request a hearing before the school board or a referee appointed by the Ohio Department of Education on whether his contract should be terminated. If he chooses to go before the referee, the board will review the recommendation of the referee before making a final decision.

Helen Carroll, legal counsel for the school board, said that if Arnold decides not to have a hearing, he probably would submit his resignation.

Fuline acknowledged in a statement that the Portage County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate that incident as well as others that have since been reported.

Fuline said her own investigation, in cooperation with the district's attorney, led her to ``conclude that Mr. Arnold's misconduct involving corporal punishment of the children in his school building warranted a recommendation to move forward with termination.''

The Paris Township mother initially reported the incident to the district. Sometime later, she filed a report with the Portage County Sheriff's Office.

Since news of the mother's allegations broke, the sheriff's office has received about 10 more allegations involving the principal and the use of a chain.

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