Community Members Demand Answers About Former Dublin Scioto Teacher
In Dublin, the fallout continues after the resignation of a Scioto High School teacher now facing child pornography charges. Parents filled Monday night’s school board meeting demanding answers to why Gregory Lee was allowed to teach after several complaints of inappropriate behavior.
Half an hour before the 7 p.m. meeting, the 1919 Building auditorium in Dublin was nearly full. Parents, teachers, former students, and other community members showed up to get a chance to speak with administrators and board members.
Board president Lynn May set the tone.
"Many of you are here because like us on this side of the table you’re angry about the actions of a former teacher at Scioto High School who’s now facing serious criminal charges," May said.
Among those to speak was former Scioto student Mollie Hankins.
"I wasn’t planning on speaking, but I thought it was important to put a face to a victim of Gregory Lee, but this is a face of a victim of him. And things need to change," Hankins said as the crowd applauded.
Federal authorities last week charged Lee with violating child pornography laws. The investigation began when the mother of a 15-year-old student told Dublin Police that her child and Lee exchanged hundreds of nude photos and videos, and had sex in his classroom multiple times.
Lee’s personnel file cites several complaints of inappropriate behavior during his 20-year career in Dublin.
Mollie Hankins arrived at Scioto in 1998. As a freshman, she joined the girls’ track team that Lee coached at the time.
"I quickly quit the team," Hankins said. "He was giving me creepy vibes. He wanted me to go into his office."
Hankins said Lee said he wanted to make sure her uniform fit correctly, and massaged her legs so she would run faster.
"I remember coming home and telling my mom and dad I wanted to quit track," Hankins said. "And they were so upset. I didn’t get to play any sports the rest of the four years because I quit."
Lee was later forced to resign from coaching in 2003 after administrators cited inappropriate physical contact with student athletes.
At Monday's meeting, Sarah Gilbert spoke on behalf of the newly created Facebook group Dublin Residents Against Sexual Harassment in Our Schools. It formed in response to the charges against Lee and now has more than 200 members.
"We respectfully request a full and complete independent investigation to be conducted from an industry leader with no previous ties or relationships with (the Ohio Department of Education) or with Dublin City Schools," Gilbert said.
Dublin City Schools Superintendent Todd Hoadley says there was never an administrative failure, and that every harassment allegation is individually and thoroughly investigated by the HR department.
"In the situation we’re dealing with tonight, discipline by Dublin City Schools, discipline by state agencies were always congruent, and at the end we demanded his resignation, even when there were no criminal charges," Hoadley said.
Lee resigned May 1 for “personal reasons.” He is being investigated by the Dublin Police and FBI Child Exploitation Task Force.
Mollie Hankins was unsatisfied with what she heard at the meeting. She wants to hear less about the current safety guidelines in place, and more about how teachers and administrators can create an atmosphere where students feel safe to come forward.
"That was the part that was missing for me," Hankins said. "We didn’t we feel safe enough to talk. We should have talked. We didn’t. None of us."
Hoadley agrees, saying that’s why the district has a 24-hour hotline where students can report incidents like sexual harassment and bullying. At Monday's meeting, administrators passed out packets detailing the district’s safety and administrative guidelines.
"That’s why we shared the number tonight, because often it’s an outside complaint that brings these situations to our attention," Hoadley said.
Hoadley says the district is conducting a full review of its policies and procedures.
"I can’t give a specific," Hoadley said. "We’re going to be coming back in the most expeditious manner that I can to look at what can we do in the future."