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Published: Thursday, 8/26/2004

A.W. custodian is fired for alleged theft of test

The Anthony Wayne Local School District fired a custodian accused of stealing test answers from Anthony Wayne High School to help her son cheat on final examinations.

Brenda O'Shea, who has worked as a custodian for Anthony Wayne for about five years, also faces misdemeanor criminal charges in Maumee Municipal Court for cheating and theft. She has pleaded not guilty to both charges, and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

"She adamantly denies the allegations," her attorney, Larry Dilabbio, said.

School officials believe she took test answer keys from the high school during the first week of June and gave the information to her son, who attended Anthony Wayne High last school year.

Superintendent Randy Hardy said "appropriate disciplinary action has been taken" against Ms. O'Shea's son. Mr. Hardy would not discuss details of the punishment because of concerns about student privacy.

The school district held a pre-termination disciplinary hearing for Ms. O'Shea on Aug. 11 and the school board voted this week to fire her.

Mr. Dilabbio said Ms. O'Shea likely will contest her termination. He said she could not adequately defend herself at the district's hearing because the pending criminal charges inhibited her statements.

"They should have given her a chance to contest the criminal charges first," he said. "I think the action they took was premature."

Both charges against Ms. O'Shea are first-degree misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, Mr. Dilabbio said.



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