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Published: Wednesday, 11/14/2012

TPS official pleads case to keep job to state ref


The case of a suspended Toledo Public Schools assistant principal is now before a state-appointed referee, who will make a recommendation on whether the administrator should be fired.

Sandra Meeks-Speller has been accused of using inappropriate physical discipline with students, making threats, and using racially tinged language. She was placed on paid administrative suspension Aug. 8 pending possible termination.

In cases of possible terminations, school employees can demand first to have a hearing before either the board or a state referee; Ms. Meeks-Speller requested the hearing. The referee's recommendation isn't binding and whether Ms. Meeks-Speller will be terminated is up to the Toledo Board of Education.

Her supporters have called the allegations against her false and the incidents that led to her discipline likely misinterpreted. Testimony in her case began Monday at the district's Summit Street Annex building and could run all week.

Representatives for TPS and Ms. Meeks-Speller spent hours Monday afternoon questioning Spring Elementary Principal Victoria Dipman about interactions between Ms. Meeks-Speller and students, parents, and staff. The allegations mostly deal with her work at Spring, where she was last year.

Parents and teachers testified in the case on Tuesday.

Testimony in the case continues today at 9 a.m.

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