Former coach pleads no contest

Hiss accused of giving prescription meds to students
Courtney Astolfi
Dec 13, 2013


Former Perkins track coach Tracey Hiss pleaded no contest Thursday to drug charges associated with a May incident in which she gave prescriptionstrength pain patches to students.

Hiss was charged with one count of possession of a dangerous drug in September, after Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter conferred with the former teacher’s attorney and agreed to file a bill of information, rather than taking the case before a grand jury.

Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone ordered Hiss to serve one year in a diversion program.

She must abide by four conditions during that time:

• Submit to random drug and alcohol screens.

• Present proof of employment.

• Pay a supervision fee of $10 per month.

• Not leave the state without written consent from the probation office.

The deal comes almost eight months after the drug allegations came to light In early May, Hiss distributed Lidoderm patches to a handful of students, which contain the prescription-strength drug lidocaine.

At least four students tipped off a doctor and athletic trainer to Hiss’s actions at the time. The pair then took that information to Perkins Schools athletic director Mike Strohl.

When Strohl confronted Hiss with the allegations, she told him students stole the patches from her school office.

Strohl also informed Perkins police, who launched an investigation.

Hiss was placed on a paid suspension later that month. While her teaching position was later cut because of district-wide staff reductions, she was still first in line for a physical education position at Furry Elementary School at the beginning of this school year, pending the outcome of her case.

But in early October, Hiss elongated her legal process by entering a plea of not guilty.

Perkins administrators responded by filling that position with laid-off teacher Tim Zapadka.

“Should things change, we may need to lay off (Zapadka) and rehire (Hiss)” district superintendent Jim Gunner said at the time.

It has yet to be determined how Perkins schools will react to Hiss’ new “no contest” plea.



If her teaching license is intact then she will be returning to work. That is, unless they decide to non renew her contract, or some other good garbage.


Ms. Hiss was my daughters cc coach several years ago.
Perkins has lost a good mentor.
Just my opinion.


They will let her go. She will sit on her butt for two or three years, then file a wrongful termination grievance with her union, get her job back with full back pay, then retire and get re-hired to double-dip. Play the system, cost us all a boatload of money. Its the American way.


I think her teaching position was reduced to half-time due to the financial problems in the district. I have a hunch they will keep it that way until the window for her to file any lawsuit expires. That being said, I think there is a double standard with her and the other coach. I'm not saying she shouldn't have consequences. She should. And his should've been more significant. If it weren't for the financial problems in the district kind of providing the district with cover, I think they'd have a hard time explaining legally how 2 coaches do nearly the same thing (I think his was worse), but he gets suspended from 3 matches while he keeps his teaching position but she gets canned and criminal charges are pursued.


She lied and blamed the kids. She is still not taking responsibility.

He brought his mistake to authorities and took full responsibility.

Does that answer your question.

White Owl

The problem is there is a big difference between distributing lidocaine patches (prescription but not a controlled substance)for external pain relief (a misdemeanor at best) and distributing Vicodin an opiate and controlled substance to student for internal consumption. The latter is a felony. It looks like gender bias to me.

My question is where did Perkins schools employees obtain the prescription drugs?


Good question, White Owl. Both coaches.


There a lot of worse reasons to let her go than this. She's lucky she hasn't been brought up on more serious charges for years. I'll just say "improper conduct with female students".


Here is the article from the SR re: the other coach. The drug was Ultram which is a prescription pain medication. The coach did not turn himself in, but did not deny it after the parents complained.

I still object to the idea that a teacher/coach can conduct themself in a manner that jeopardizes students and they can avoid serious consequence if -- they just admit it when and if they are caught? I'm not suggesting she should've been able to avoid penalty. I think his should've been more severe. I just think this is the wrong way to manage employees when student safety is involved.


Lets start a petition to pass the next levy if - and ONLY IF - Perkins teachers accept a zero tolerance clause in their contracts with no appeal. Found guilty of any crime involving safety or welfare of a minor and you are GONE TODAY FOREVER.