Drug charges filed against Perkins track coach

Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter has filed drug charges against Perkins Schools track coach and middle school teacher Tracey Hiss.
Alissa Widman Neese
Sep 10, 2013

 

Hiss, accused of providing prescription-strength pain relief patches to students earlier this year, was charged Friday with possession of a dangerous drug. She has not yet entered a plea on the minor misdemeanor.

Baxter reviewed the case with Hiss’ attorney, and the pair agreed to have Baxter file a bill of information, waiving her right to a grand jury.

“It’s my understanding she will be pleading no contest, but a date hasn’t been set yet,” Baxter said.

As part of the agreement, Hiss must complete a diversion probation program. Given that she has no criminal background, the case will then be dismissed with no conviction.

“She has a good record as a teacher and a coach, and she obviously had pretty poor judgement in this situation,” Baxter said. “She certainly needs to be held accountable, but within reason, which is why we came to this resolution.”

During the past school year, Hiss allegedly provided a handful of students with adhesive Lidoderm patches, which contain the drug lidocaine, according to Perkins police reports. Two individuals told athletic director Mike Strohl about the situation after obtaining information from at least four students in early May.

When Strohl approached Hiss, she told him the students stole the patches from her school office, according to a police report.

After reviewing the case, Baxter determined her accusations were not true. As such, students will not be charged.

“I don’t believe that happened, and that needs to be addressed at her plea hearing,” Baxter said.

Because lidocaine is not a scheduled drug listed in the Ohio Revised Code, possession of a dangerous drug is an appropriate citation for both the act of possessing the pain relief patches without a prescription and giving them to students, Baxter said.

It’s unknown how the criminal charge will impact Hiss’ status as a Perkins Schools employee.

District superintendent Jim Gunner gave Hiss a written notice of her suspension with pay May 14, pending the criminal investigation’s outcome.

Hiss was then included in a list of district-wide reductions enacted in June, based on a teacher’s seniority and class subject. Several elementary and middle school elective teachers, including health, were eliminated, so Hiss was no longer considered a district employee.

As of Monday, Gunner said a parttime health position is available at Furry Elementary School. Hiss could be recalled to the position based on her seniority, but the district will not make any decisions until the investigation is completely resolved. Another eliminated teacher with less seniority is currently filling in at the position at a substitute teacher’s pay rate.

“We can’t legally recall (the substitute) to the position until we know Tracey’s legal status,” Gunner said. “The district then has to make a decision whether to take disciplinary action or rehire her, which would take place at a public meeting.”

Lidoderm patches are placed on the skin to numb an area for temporary pain relief, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website. Side effects typically include a range of temporary skin irritations or allergic reactions. Rarely can an individual overdose on local anesthetics such as lidocaine, but serious side effects are possible.

Comments

Good 2 B Me

Hey Gunner, why not just offer her $1.7M from the operating fund?

From the Grave

At least she wasn't handing out condoms!

Perkins2060

When is the next levy after the next levy?

Erie Countian

Hiss should be fired, and not simply because she distributed Lidocaine. She should be fired because she lied and said her students stole it from her! But I suppose her teachers union will stick up for her even though she threw her own students under the bus to cover her actions. Gee, what a fine example to our youth! Disgusting!

brassman

She's a good teacher who made a stupid mistake. I hope everything turns out alright for her.

Finn Finn

Not A stupid mistake, multiple stupid mistakes; giving these patches to at least five students, then denying she gave them out, simultaneously claiming that the students stole them from her office. And apparently, from the information in this article, she still hasn't come clean. The district pays her way too much money to be behaving like this. Termination will set an example that Perkins will not tolerate criminal activity. She is young and will bounce back. She should be thankful that the only penalty is loss of her job, and not, as huronguy pointed out, the death of a student.

Tool Box

I agree Finn Finn.... The game changer for me was the fact that she is a teacher for our students and she decided to lie about this! I don't want my daughter to learn from her! She is not teaching proper values! Integrity is something that she CLEARLY does not have! Not only did she lie but she tried to blame the students! THIS IS JUST WRONG!!! She needs to be FIRED!!!

huronguy

Seriously??? She should be out on her butt with more charges than just a minor misdemeanor. She gave children drugs!!! what if a child had a reaction and died?
what else did she do with or to these children that hasn't been brought to light?
If I went into any place of business or school and started handing out prescription meds to children I guarantee I'd have more charges than 1 minor misdemeanor, Mr.Baxter, I don't even know why you even bothered to charge her, Oh so her attorney can make money and pay for you and his next golf outing and the drinks and food it includes.

Buckeye_Nation

really? you're an idiot, lidocaine is hardly dangerous, all it is is a topical cream that numbs an area. she should be disciplined but this is not that big of a deal, parents overreacting, since that is all people know how to do anymore

WesTaylor

Parents didn't overreact. The trainer noticed her doing it, and turned her in. Lidocaine masks pain, so I kid can run when the body is hurt. It is not to be used by athletes.

Julie R.

"She certainly needs to held accountable, but within reason, which is why we came to this resolution," said Kevin Baxter.

If God ever started striking down hypocrites, that Eeerie County courthouse would be the Erie County morgue.

Darwin's choice

^^this^^

Darkhorse

I can't believe how stupid people can be to do such a thing. The school needs to get rid of her. She shows no common sense to give any kind of drug to a kid. As a parent, I would be furious and outraged.

Karma89

I think a bigger question is where did she get the patches, you need and Rx for those??? Who wrote her the script for them?? Hmmmm.... Someone could be in BIG trouble!

EZOB

Erie Countian,
Isn't the union still sticking up for Her? She's getting paid, isn't she?

Julie R.

Hey Mr. Baxter, how come attorneys and judges are never held accountable?

As an afterthought, how come YOU aren't?

Stop It

Damn, Jules... Do you drag that graveyard with you wherever you go or is it just in here?

Julie R.

Those are the ones that are a very real threat to society. They have about as much respect for the people as they do the law ---- which is zilch and then some.

gramafun

I am afraid Julie has a point about Baxter this time And this teacher should go out the door on her butt. The AG would be in a tizzy over her position on drugs. He is instrumental in stopping drugs wherever he can. Could you imagine what position he would take on a teacher passing them out to students: even local patches? No way.

deertracker

I too would like to know the answer to Julie R.'s question.

Dont Worry Be Happy

She drives me crazy.

There you go again

The appalling behavior of our president (lying, forgetting, "not knowing about") seems to have trickled down to local governments, as well. Unfortunately, our society seems to be more accepting of this behavior. Sad world.

donutshopguy

It's the lying and blaming the students for her actions that makes me question if she could ever be a competent teacher again.

Tool Box

I agree!

Mum-of-One

Although the patches are relatively safe to use, it's the reasons for which they are used that matter. It should be a Doctor who decides who should use them, and when they should be used, not Ms. Hiss. It would seem from the article she did not have a prescription for them either. By saying that the students stole them from her office did not help her case. In essence, by saying that, she admitted she had them in her office. Why did she have them without a prescription and why were they in her office? Did she take them there to distribute them to students or were they for her own use? Either way if there was no prescription she should not have had them anyway. She is not trustworthy enough to be teaching health or anything else to students.

candleburner

I agree with the comments that she needs to be held accountable and fired from her position at the school. What I don't understand is that she's being charges with a minor misdemeanor and she's waiving her right to a grand jury? The two don't go together. Only in the case of a felony would she be bound over to county court and then face a grand jury. There is no minor misdemeanor in county court. And to answer Karma89's question I believe that the only way someone else would be in trouble for the patches would be if they were writing the script knowing that she was distributing them to minors and/or if she were accepting money for them. If she had a legitimate script for the patches for herself and she was giving them to the students without charging them I don't believe there would be any criminal wrongdoing on the physician's part there. I could be wrong about that though. I've been wrong before and I will be again. But Perkins School district would be stupid to bring her back and I think they're opening themselves up to a lot of trouble if they do bring her back after others have "retired" or been outright fired for various reasons.

Unassumer

This is a gross waste of taxpayer dollars. Being fired was enough. This is ridiculous. Go after real criminals.

OMGreally

But she wasn't fired, first she was suspended with pay and then "laid off" is the way it sounds....

LuckOfTheIrish

A regular in sports, when I was in high school, the training room was often left unlocked or unoccupied and if we needed to wrap our knee or wrist etc., we did. This included many creams to relieve pain or icy hot. I can honestly see how they could have come up missing.

ridiculousness

the patches weren't in the training room. she had them in her office as well as her coaching bag. she personally handed them to the athletes. none of them broke in to her office and stole anything. and it was the school trainer who questioned it and brought it to the athletic directors attention. the girls involved where completely blind sided when they were pulled into the office and questioned.

LuckOfTheIrish

You seem to offer a lot of information not provided in this post. Thank you, but you did not address the main question most commenters are asking: Why/How did she have prescription strength patches?

AEversole

Lidocain patches, get a life people... there are several products over the counter with lidocain. It is a numbing agent. It is not even a scheduled drug. You guys act like she was distributing narcotics. Yea she should not of done it and she should not have lied, but this is getting totally blown out of proportion.... I thought I heard of the wrestling coach giving his athletes vicodin???? Where are his charges... They are destroying this woman, and it is so petty and minor.. I am more disappointed in the railroading than her actions... she lied because she knew this would happen. She wish she had a re do, but that's not how it works. I feel bad for her because she is one of the few teachers that truly care about the outcomes of these kids future...... some people need to reach behind them and grab that stick that is stuck in their a$#. .... everyone wants to see someone destroyed and crucified for the smallest things these days... ladocain ........not cocain or heroin people. Lidocain.lol lol lol.....what a petty petty petty mini micro incident ......grow the heck up

ridiculousness

the wrestling coach involved gave the pill to the athlete and told him to take it home and ask his parents. when the coach was questioned he was 100% honest about the entire issue. Hiss immediately lied and said the girls broke in and stole them. And it wasn't even her prescription. shouldn't you be more upset about the damage she is causing to these girls she continues to lie about.

Mum-of-One

It is not normal for any coach to be handing out medications to athletes. It's not acceptable just because he said ask you parents. He may have been "honest" about the issue, that does not make it ok.

donutshopguy

AEversole,

So you approve of her lying and blaming the children?

Most grown ups don't blame children for their mistakes.

Tru Grit

For what happened with Coach Crabtree and his handing out of medicine compared to what Hiss did it raises some serious eyebrows. I am not condoning any action by Tracey Hiss, but she definitely has some people at Perkins Local Schools that want to see her out on her butt and not with that school anymore. She made a poor choice and she is pay for it one way or another, but some fishy activity is going on over at Perkins.

akmed

hell even CRABTREE thinks that is wack. Good old boys club

huronguy

No eversole we want folks to be held accountable for their actions! 6 year olds are getting expelled and charged for bringing toy guns to school but we have a teacher handing out prescription drugs to children and it's a slap on the wrist. How does she know if any of these children were allergic to lidocain anyways? when a child falls or hurt themselves in my neighborhood I'm not out giving them my prescription drugs!
and if I did bet your sweet a$$ I'd be sitting in Erie county Jail with FELONIES
http://www.wltx.com/news/article...

http://alextimes.com/2013/02/10-...
If they have to accept responsibility she should too!

devilsadvocate

Isn't it a law that a teacher can not give a student any medicine of any kind? Sure they did twenty years ago but this is today. Also, she lied and said the students stole it. That is almost just as worse - what else has she said students did/said that they really didn't.

lifetimeresident

After reading this article there is know doubt she messed up. No excuse. I would be upset if I were a parent to any of the kids this happened to. To the extent of how she needs punished, lets not hang her out to dry. I think she coached a couple SBC title track teams. Alot of time goes into coaching for a small extra pay. 30 Days suspended without Pay and lets move along. And hope she doesnt counter Sue since the male teacher got off so light. Perkins has bigger problems than this.

LuckOfTheIrish

Why was she in possession of the patches if you need a prescription in order to use them? Was she prescribed them? Or how does she have access to a prescription strength patch..

lifetimeresident

Her back probably hurts from helping caring out those old bleachers.

Julie R.

Baxter says this coach certainly should be held accountable ........

Barf, barf, and more barf, Mister Baxter!

ridiculousness

it's not the the patches were some major toxic drug. the point is she handed them out freely. it wasn't even her prescription it was someone elses. and then she lied and said the girls stole them from her. she kept them in her coaching back and often handed them out at meets. people just need to see what she did as a whole. there is completely lack of integrity, respect, and concern for her students and athletes

ridiculousness

*bag

jstus2001

She Is Hot...! and if it was heroin or crack she was passing out it would be 6 months probation. Why get so worked up...society in general it teaching the kids that nothing is "their fault". She is simply a product of that teaching...not my fault, kids stole them...not my fault, bartender served me too much...not my fault, "Hust" & "Play B" mag. gave me carpel tunnel...GET A LIFE PEOPLE...!!!

AEversole

I clearly stated she was wrong for lieing

AEversole

It is a joke joke joke.... waste of tax money and is clearly a railroading .......i have never ever heard of anyone being charged with possession if lidocain. And it isn't a scheduled drug in the revised code, so they found the only charge available available, and they are throwing it out if she takes the plea... smells awfully fishy. .. there way of not having to give her that Jr high gig and get her out the district... so the wresteling coach admitted to a felony for distrributing narcotics or what... here take this but ask your parents first my as$...... eather way it is way worse to give a child a scheduled 2 narrcotic vs. Lidoccain you morrons .....

gramafun

no teacher is permitted to administer or dispense ANY medication of ANY type to a student. ALL medications MUST BE ADMINISTERED by the nurse on duty at the schools. That is state law in Ohio. There is no provision for any teacher, coach, or assistant to give, prescribe, assist or dispense any medications to students. Only medical personnel may do so. (State of Ohio: Manual to all Teachers/State of Ohio Board of Education Training Manual)

It isn't a matter of giving a schedule 2 narcotic VS Lidocaine. Its a matter of giving ANYTHING WHATSOEVER that is the problem. Lidocaine can be a problem just like aspirin can. Because you cannot give ANYTHING under state law. No one is being a moron here.

AEversole

Kindergarten kid expelled for plastic gun......stupid. kid expelled tor drawing a school on fire .......stupid. teacher charged with lidocain .....stupid. waste of time and money ...... .Baxter ... .......stupid stupid stupid

fifteenthgreen

What, no special prosecutor needed to be brought in to make the decision for you....at the taxpayers expense? Good job, Baxter. We're talking big time law enforcement on this one. Surprised you actually made a decision this quickly or did your Ouija board tell you what to do?

OokyFanooky

I totally think this is all bogus. In a post above, it said that the trainer went to the athletic director but in the article, it said that 2 individuals went to the athletic director. Any idea who that second individual was? Was it a parent? It seems to me that if you were a parent, you would have known that she was apparently giving these patches to your kid, either because you see them on your kid's skin or your kid would tell you. Besides that, if your kid or someone elses kid was in pain for one reason or another, would you not do everything you can to minimize that pain? Plus, being a health teacher, I am sure she knows a little bit of what Lidocain is and how it works. What if she gave the students icey hot and they were alergic to that? Would we be have this same conversation? Plus, these kids should not be made out to be so innocent. They are young adults and are getting ready to head into this world on their own. They should know what is right and what is wrong. They could have said no. I am sure she did not hold them down and force them to put these patches on. When you have a coach in the system for 17+ years, she obviously is a good teacher and coach and really cares for her students and atheletes or she would have been gone years ago. TOTAL SUPPORT FOR TRACEY!

Alissa Widman Neese's picture
Alissa Widman Neese

From a previous article of mine, according to a Perkins police report:

"The report states Perkins Schools athletic director Mike Strohl approached police after a doctor and an athletic trainer alleged Hiss provided students with adhesive Lidoderm patches, which contain the drug lidocaine. The pair obtained the information from at least four students between May 6-10, according to the reoprt. The students' names were redacted from the police narrative section and were not referenced elsewhere in the report."

Common Sense

Ooky Fanooky,
It's ironic that you should point out that "she obviously is a good teacher and coach and really cares for her students and athletes or she would have been gone years ago." This was nearly the same mantra that supporters of Mrs. Smith said when she was fired.
If you have children in Mrs. Hiss health classes, you could make that judgement concerning her teaching. Having has that experience, I am not sure I would agree with her teaching evaluations and her recent suspension may have given the administrators an opportunity to "evaluate" the entire picture. As for her coaching abilities, she is a very good coach and could be an even better mentor if she could maintain the coach-athlete relationship.

44870pt

Ms. Hiss completely completely crossed the line when she CHOSE to lie about giving the patches to her student-athletes. The moment she accused these teenage children of stealing from her and lying to cover up THEIR actions, she violated the moral, ethical and legal codes inherent to teaching and coaching. I can only imagine the stress and anguish Ms. Hiss put those student-athletes and their families through. What about the unnecessary time and wasted taxpayer money spent on the overall investigation of this incident? I hope the school district, investigative bureaus and any counsel retained by the accused students/families/witnesses involved, make her pay their legal costs. The moment she chose to lie to save herself, was THE moment she was no longer worthy to teach or coach. Ms. Hiss showed complete lack of regard and respect for anyone else involved in, or touched by, her poor choice. She is not a young person new to the profession of teaching/coaching who made a misguided, naive attempt to help her athletes. She is a teacher in her late 40's who has been coaching for 25 years, and made a deliberate attempt to blame kids for her illegal activity.

Whether or not she was a decent coach "back-in-the-day" and/or won a few SBC track or cross-country titles has absolutely NO bearing on how she should be punished for this. This is not the kind of educator that belongs in any classroom in any school district. I hope Furry parents paid close attention to Gunner's comments: As of Monday, Gunner said a part-time health position is available at Furry Elementary School. Hiss could be recalled to the position based on her seniority, but the district will not make any decisions until the investigation is completely resolved. Another eliminated teacher with less seniority is currently filling in at the position at a substitute teacher’s pay rate. “We can’t legally recall (the substitute) to the position until we know Tracey’s legal status,” Gunner said. “The district then has to make a decision whether to take disciplinary action or rehire her, which would take place at a public meeting.” If I were a parent of a Furry student, I'd make sure I was at that particular meeting!

OokyFanooky

OK, here is a thoery then, what if she gave 1 or a couple of athletes these patches for the first or the second time or whatever. Then the athletes took it upon themselves to go into her office without her knowing and took more of them. Technically, they would have stole them. There are just too many what if's that unless you were there you have no idea how things went down. If she did in fact blatantly lie then shame on her, but think about it, if you just got accused of distributing drugs to student athletes, you know it will be a big deal both with the school and the public, why would you lie about it and especially throw your student athletes under the bus? It does not make sense to me. Hence, there is something else going on that we as the public do not know about.

44870pt

"OK, here is a thoery then, what if she gave 1 or a couple of athletes these patches for the first or the second time or whatever".

The moment Hiss willingly, voluntarily gave ONE athlete ONE prescription medication patch, that was not only NOT her personal prescription nor the athlete's, she broke the law. As an educator and coach, she was well aware of the potential risks and consequences of her choice. IF an athlete was either indirectly/directly told or believed that these "icy hot patches" (remember, Hiss allegedly did not tell the athletes those patches were prescription medication and illegal for her to dispense) were available for use whenever needed, and they took them from her office believing it was alright to do so, Hiss is still at fault. She established the precedent of them being "harmless" for use by offering and distributing those patches to her athletes. She may have been trying to keep her athletes as pain-free and comfortable as possible, but giving them someone else's prescription medication was NOT the way to achieve that result.

"If she did in fact blatantly lie then shame on her, but think about it, if you just got accused of distributing drugs to student athletes, you know it will be a big deal both with the school and the public, why would you lie about it and especially throw your student athletes under the bus?" I believe she lied to save her career and coaching job. I believe she threw her student-athletes "under the bus" because it was easier to do that then admit fault and accept the consequences of her own poor choices.

donutshopguy

OokyFanooky,

You lie about it to save your job.

Doesn't make sense to me but making a mistake and compounding it with a lie is a pretty normal situation in our judicial system.

Cindi Davidson

Talk about the good ole boys club isn't amazing how Crabtree gets three games suspension for giving a student prescription pills that could really harm a student (oh and he did not tell him to take it home and ask mommy or daddy if it was ok either). But a complete knock out drag down issue when Hiss gives out patches. I feel what is being done for Hiss should have been done for Crabtree. But like I said same ole crap different day. GIVE ME A BREAK!!

deertracker

Leave Ms. Hiss alone. She is no longer at the school so move on!

jstus2001

Did I mention that she is HOT...?

Julie R.

Baxter & Co. would do good to get their priorities straight when it comes to who should be held accountable and who shouldn't. Maybe they should all go back to school and take a long over-due refresher course on the law & ethics. Even better, how about a refresher course on the law, period.

Just a Girl

Perkins teachers love to use their students. Remember the teachers' strike when they encouraged the kids to climb out windows and stand in the road picketing with them? I can't take these teachers, administrators, or school board seriously. And yes, it's a no-brainer, keep the teacher fired. Or would you like her handing out her patches to the elementary kids next?

arnmcrmn

A very dumb thing to do, however, lidocaine patches are as much of a drug as a cough drop is. Non addictive and will not harm your body at all. Its like a very strong "Ben Gay" patch.