Former teacher, coach pleads not guilty

A former Perkins Schools coach and teacher accused of providing students with prescription-strength pain patches entered a plea of not guilty Thursday in an Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Courtney Astolfi
Oct 4, 2013


Tracey Hiss, a coach and middle school teacher, was charged Sept. 6 with possession of a dangerous drug, a first-degree misdemeanor.

The charges originated from incidents last May, when Hiss allegedly distributed Lidoderm patches to a handful of children, according to a Perkins police report.

When the school’s athletic director initially approached Hiss with the allegations, she told him the students stole the patches from her office, the report said. Prosecutors contend the students did not steal the pain patches.

Hiss was suspended in mid-May pending the outcome of her criminal investigation, but in June her position was eliminated amid district-wide staff reductions. She could be recalled to the position based on her seniority after her trial concludes, but in the meantime another teacher has assumed her position temporarily.

“We can’t legally recall (the substitute) to the position until we know Tracey’s legal status,” district superintendent Jim Gunner previously told the Register.

On Thursday the waiting period was extended longer than previously planned. Prosecutors originally believed Hiss would enter a plea of no contest, but instead she pleaded not guilty.

Her next court appearance is Dec. 12.



NO in NOvember!


So by pleading not guilty, she is basically saying the girls with the patches lied.


Did the Crabtree incident get swept under the rug ? Wasn't he feeding some of his wrestlers painkillers of some sort ? She gets the wood laid to her but he is not held accountable for his actions ?

Señor Clown

That's sort of the impression that I got, but I guess it's a matter of who you know...


Or....Who wants your job.


I believe Crabtree was given a written letter of reprimand and had to,sit out for three Wrestling matches, after giving an injured wrestler a prescription pain killer. The medicine was Vicodin if I remember correctly.

The kid did not consume the drug, he took it and showed his parents.

No police involved, no criminal record, didn't have to hire a lawyer. It's obviously a mans world.


Difference: Crabtree admitted his wrongdoing in the situation. He took the consequence with no complaint.


Really? So I can go rob a bank and AFTER I get caught, admit it, and they won't call the cops?

He admitted it AFTER the parents told the AD.

I would accept the consequences too, all it was was a slap on the wrist!

And Vicodin is far more serious than a stupid pain patch!


I feel a lawsuit coming on if that is the case...Can't have double standards. Where is the wonderful teachers union while this is all playing out ?

The New World Czar

Who do you think might be helping her with her attorney fees?


She must not be a "yes" person for the b.o.e. and gunner. They will systematically weed out anyone they do not want by any means they can. As stated before, there was an incident similar with another coach, and that was taken care of "in house."


Ohio is full of mysogynists. That word means a deep hatred of women.


Do you even realize how condescending you are?


"Do you even realize how condescending you are?"

Another comment from a Perkins Schools pro-levy supporter.

Women in Ohio get harsh treatments from schools, police, prosecutors and the courts. Explain to me why charges are filed against this female teacher but a male teacher gets a free pass?
I could post many examples in the Sandusky, Ohio area alone for the benefit of the local readers. Here are some links about a male teacher from the Perkins Local SD.
"Travis Crabtree has been suspended for part of the season, after offering one of his wrestlers a prescription painkiller at a wrestling camp this past summer at Penn State University, school officials said."
"Perkins coach suspended for offering athlete prescription medication"

Why no drug trafficking charges from the county prosecutor? I will come back to this news article later with some more links as time permits me. I am tired from a long recent trip. Stay tuned.

Mr. D

@wald, read the Constitution of The United States of America, perhaps you will pick up some inkling of understanding that this is her right to plead not guilty. You and I and everyone else still have this right.
Cherish it and all of your Constitutional Rights!


Do you have a problem with reading comprehension, Mr. D? If you re-read my post, perhaps you will pick up some inkling of understanding that I never said she didn't have the right to plead not guilty.


Maybe the attorney for Ms Hiss will raise selective prosecution as a defense and challenge the prosecutor's record of alleged drug abuse.

The facts strongly support dismissal of this charge based on selective prosecution. First, a male Perkins Wrestling coach was not prosecuted by Baxter for possessing and distributing Vicodin a controlled substance to a student. Baxter didn't pursue felony charges against a male coach providing controlled drugs to male athletes but did pursue misdemeanor charges against a female coach distributing non controlled drugs to female athletes.

Second, reliable evidence has been found by two courts that the prosecutor has a history of controlled drug abuse. Defense counsel could subpoena the BCI report that has been sealed.

Third, there is a history of Baxter charging women for reporting his or other males alleged misconduct including drug abuse or trafficking but not charging males for reporting his alleged misconduct. (Krista Harris prosecuted after providing affidavit to BCI concerning Baxter's alleged drug use while Matt Westerhold and male SR staff sued civilly by Baxter but not prosecuted for reporting on alleged drug abuse)


It was the schools job to report their wrestling coach to the police to investigate, who then in turn give their evidence to Baxter to prosecute.

It is the SCHOOL that chose to turn in a woman coach to police and not turn in the male coach.

Tracey needs to sue the schools in a civil suit next.


Yes the Perkins schools should have reported the wrestling coach providing Vicodin a controlled substance to a male athlete. In fact failure to report a felony is a crime too. However, the facts of the case are all over this website. There is nothing stopping Baxter or Perkins PD from initiating a case against the wrestling coach. They don't have to wait on the school administration.

Ms Hiss would have a strong case against Perkins Schools IF she can win this criminal case. In my opinion her basis for winning the criminal case is a dismissal based on selective prosecution by Baxter based on gender. She would then have a very strong federal civil rights case.

I hope she has a good criminal defense attorney who is not aligned with the local system and understands federal civil rights cases. She doesn't want to end up like Nuesse who had a great case of selective prosecution which was never raised by her attorney.

Julie R.



I hope everything goes well for you Tracey! Good luck to you Ben also!


So, who wanted her job? Who replaced her as track coach?


Quick comment.

Mr. Gunner's letter to the female teacher:
"Hiss is prohibited from district property"

"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."

I recall an elderly female Perkins School teacher being fired. How did that case go?


So it looks like it was Superintendent Gunner's decision not to report the wrestling coach to authorities, but to throw the book at Ms. Hiss. In my opinion, failure to report the alleged felony committed by the wrestling coach is a crime by Mr. Gunner.

If one were opposed to the levy based on what looks to me to be very discriminatory and illegal conduct by Mr. Gunner, one could ask the Perkins PD or the Ohio Department of Education to investigate him for condoning felony activity that endangers children. I'm also wondering why the Board of Education approves of Gunner's actions and the strong evidence of gender discrimination. Any current Board member running for office should be questioned about this double standard.

What law firm represents the Board and why are they allowing Gunner to engage in actions that might result in serious liability to the schools and serious negative public relations?


Still waiting to see when the wrestling coach is charged for his crime.