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Teacher, track coach suspended

Alissa Widman Neese • May 18, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Perkins Schools officials suspended an athletic coach this week while police investigate allegations she provided prescription medication to students.

Tracey Hiss, varsity girls track coach for 25 years, received a written notice of the investigation Tuesday from district superintendent Jim Gunner. The Register obtained a copy of the letter through a public records request. 

Hiss is also a health teacher at Briar Middle School for sixth-graders and junior high students.

“I am relieving you of your duties as a teacher and a coach, with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations that you have engaged in conduct unbecoming of a teacher in the Perkins Local School District by providing students with prescription medication without any authorization to do so,” Gunner stated in the letter.

Click here to read letter.

Hiss is prohibited from district property and should not discuss the matter with any students or employees, the letter stated. A substitute teacher is filling in for her at Briar Middle School.

Amy Didion, teacher and middle school boys track coach, is currently coaching the varsity girls track team, athletic director Mike Strohl said. 

When contacted Friday, Gunner said he couldn’t provide any details other than what he included in the Tuesday letter. Perkins police are currently investigating the allegations, and until the investigation is complete, Hiss is presumed innocent, he said.

Hiss did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The Register has submitted a public records request for the coach’s personnel file, as well as a request for any document detailing recent administrative actions involving her. School officials said Thursday they could not provide the personnel file until early next week.

A similar incident occurred at Perkins Schools in October, when school officials suspended wrestling coach and physical education teacher Travis Crabtree for providing a wrestler with a prescription painkiller. Strohl suspended Crabtree for three matches but did not take the incident to the superintendent or school board members.

Gunner explained at the time that it was Strohl’s responsibility, but Crabtree could appeal the matter to Gunner. The coach opted not to do so.

Late Thursday, district treasurer Lisa Crescimano emailed a news release stating board members will meet in a closed-door session at 7 a.m. Saturday to discuss employment of personnel. The meeting is at the district’s administrative service center, 3714 Campbell St.

Perkins police did not return phone messages seeking comment. 

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