Update: Aide gets 10-day suspension for social media comments

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Wood County school aide Tina Boston received a 10-day suspension without pay for racist comments she made on Facebook in regards to politics.

WTAP was first notified when a viewer sent us a private message on Facebook with a screenshot of the exchange.

The school board initially had no comment. Then, it was decided this issue would be put on the agenda during the next BOE meeting.

Tuesday, during the public discussion portion of the evening, one woman went the podium to share her thoughts.

She said she was outraged more people weren't at the meeting to express their disgust.

"What does that say about our community that nobody is here speaking out about racism? I think it speaks volumes for Wood County and I don't think anyone wants that for Wood County. I don't think that's anybody's goal that we want to appear racist, but that's how it's coming off," said Lish Greiner, a community member.

The board members declined to go on camera about the outcome.

Currently, there is no code of conduct for Wood County School employees and social media use.

Board members say in light of this situation, they might draft a policy.

After her 10-day suspension, Boston will return to work as an aide Monday, December 5, 2016.

WTAP has confirmed that the woman in the alleged incident was an aide.

Currently, Wood County Schools does not have a social media policy for students or teachers.

They follow the guidelines of the state.

Wood County School officials said if someone were to violate the state guidelines they would certainly follow up and investigate.

If it is determined that the incident violates the guidelines it will then be brought to the school board.

We asked if they could give us her name, her school, whether she was still employed, or if she had even made the comments, and they were unable to confirm anything.

Wood County Schools did say, however, that if an employee were to violate the state's policy they have an investigatory and a progressive disciplinary policy that would lead them to recommend to the board a course of action that could range anywhere from a letter of reprimand to termination.

On Thursday afternoon, the agenda for the next board meeting was released. On the list was: “Discussion of extension of suspension without pay of a professional employee,” which could mean that she has already been suspended.

Sean Francisco, human resources director for Wood County Schools, stated, “Because it’s a personnel matter we can neither confirm nor deny the investigation process, much less any disciplinary actions or anything like that when we talk about personnel until there is board action on an employee. If it gets to the point that there’s board action on any employee that’s the only time we would make a comment regarding the employee.”

Superintendent John Flint said, "Wood County Board of Education takes every report of descrimination and racism very, very seriously. Of our 1600 employees we try to make sure every employee sets a high example of fairness, tolerance, and equality. And having said that, we want to make sure that all of our employees, also are due process rights are met."

Wood County Schools says it has no comment about a school employee's alleged use of a racially-charged comment on Facebook.

The comments were political in nature and used a racial slur.

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