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"Harlem Shake" Teacher Gets Another Year

By: Kirk Greenfield, Todd Baucher Email
By: Kirk Greenfield, Todd Baucher Email
The Wood County Board of Education Tuesday voted to rehire teacher Jesse Young for the 2013-2014 school year.

MGN Online

The Wood County Board of Education has decided against a reccommedation from Superintendent Patrick Law not to rehire teacher Jesse Young.

The board voted 4-0 to rehire Young for the 2013-2014 school year, after a lengthy meeting in which several people showed support for the Parkersburg High School physical education teacher.

The special meeting Tuesday night was packed by more than six dozen spectators, in standing room only conditions.

The Board quickly accepted the bid by Grae-Con of Marietta to replace the Big Red Stadium concrete seating, after a recommendation by the architect.

But the Board then began a special hearing to review why their Superintendent was justified in not placing probationary Physical Education teacher Jesse Young on the re-hire list.

Young is the local teacher featured in a "Harlem Shake video" which captured students making suggestive dance moves behind his back.

The hearing featured testimony by teachers, students and coaches, all stressing what a great teacher Young represents, and why he should continue teaching in Wood County schools.

After more than 90 minutes of testimony BOE President Tim Fox asked Young, "As a coach, you're a leader and you instill leadership values in these kids. Do you see your role as a coach being diminished, in other words, (did) this (suspension) compromise your ability to perform your duties?"

"I don't think so...just carry on as usual and get back to business... And learn from it," affirmed Jesse Young. "Learn from it, yes!"

Young declined to speak with the media as the Board retired to executive session to deliberate what to do.

Earlier, the board cleared the room to be able to view the video in executive session.

The meeting continued after more than three hours and hearing nine witnesses including Superintendent Law and suspended teacher Jesse Young. Two of the students caught in the video making suggestive moves also spoke before the board in favor of Young, explaining their actions were not prompted by the teacher.

Board President Jim Fox says, however, that Young "is still being dealt with administratively", but could not comment further, citing personnel confidentiality.


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