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WCS approves coaching volunteers

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

The Wabash City Schools Board of Trustees unanimously approved 19 coaching volunteers following concerns raised by board members about their ability to pass a background check.

At the March 4 meeting, board member Kipp Cantrell requested to table a vote to approve the 19 coaching volunteers after looking at the list and asking, “Wasn’t someone on here in trouble with the law a few years ago?”

In response, Superintendent Jason Callahan indicated that he couldn’t discuss personnel matters in public, but said, “Everyone on here can pass a background check.”

Wabash court records showed that three of the 19 candidates had previously faced operating while intoxicated charges, one as recent as June 2018.

Callahan released a statement March 6 explaining the process for prospective employees and volunteers who have items, such as a DUI or similar charge, on their criminal history.

He said anyone with a charge or conviction must appeal to the superintendent to be approved to work or volunteer for the school system, and that “anyone with a child endangerment charge or conviction will never be granted access” to students.

“Lesser charges, such as alcohol-related charges, especially in one’s youth, will be taken into consideration on a case-by-case basis,” the statement said. “We believe in the opportunity for redemption in both our students and our staff; however, we would never hire if there was any hint of child endangerment crimes or behaviors.”

The agenda item, containing the same list of names from the last board meeting, was moved to the end of the meeting on Monday and was later unanimously approved by the board without discussion.

“Again, we stand behind our past hires and our hiring practices,” the statement says.

“If there are any concerns or questions from the public, Wabash City Schools remains open for discussion.”