From left, school board Vice President Lisa Canales and interim Superintendent Cherie Mourlam listen to board President David Hunter discuss the decision to uphold former Superintendent Patrick Hickey’s ban from district property on Monday.
The Washington Local Board of Education on Monday unanimously upheld its decision to bar its former superintendent from property owned or controlled by the district.
Patrick Hickey, who resigned from his post in December after twice being placed on leave amid board investigations, read a statement in the board’s closed session about his behavior at a Whitmer High basketball game he attended Friday to watch his son play.
That behavior included what a board resolution described as “unacceptable” interaction with district administrators. The actions led the board to vote Saturday to keep him off its property — a decision upheld after giving Mr. Hickey a chance to respond at Monday’s meeting.
In the written statement, which the district released after board President David Hunter initially refused to do so, Mr. Hickey apologized “for any attention that was drawn to me and for embarrassment to the board, the district, and my family.”
The board’s resolution on Monday clarified that a game official did not ask Mr. Hickey to leave the facility, but instead the official asked that he be removed from standing at the court’s baseline.
“Mr. Hickey did not comply,” according to the resolution, which also said he “engaged in inappropriate conduct.”
The board earlier indicated Mr. Hickey continued to embrace interim Superintendent Cherie Mourlam even after she tried to push him away.
Mr. Hickey countered in his statement that he and Ms. Mourlam have been “friends for many years.”
“We have publicly hugged each other a countless number of times. I am sorry for embarrassing her and did not perceive that she was trying to break away from my hug,” he said.
In his statement, Mr. Hickey acknowledged he “made remarks to one of the officials” and “sensed his displeasure.” He said he left his seat and stood at the end of the gym with Athletic Director Tom Snook to watch the game.
“I did not perceive any of the officials directing me to leave the gymnasium, but apparently Mr. Snook heard or perceived something and advised me to go upstairs,” he wrote.
Instead, Mr. Hickey said he stopped and watched the game with someone else, but left the gym when Mr. Snook “yelled at me to get out and go home.” Mr. Hickey acknowledged that he “did exchange words” as he left.
Mr. Hickey said he emailed the game official to apologize.
Reached by phone after Monday’s meeting, Mr. Hickey declined further comment.
The terms of his December departure keep him on payroll through July 31, but called for him to stay off school property except to attend events involving his children, such as Friday’s basketball game.
The board’s vote on Monday means Mr. Hickey will not be permitted to attend games held at district sites or be on school property until further board action is taken.
Mr. Hunter said the board will “see how things go and talk about” whether or not Mr. Hickey will be permitted to attend his son’s graduation, which is not held on district property. Mr. Hunter said attorneys have said that the district could deny him access since the district has “control” of the venue during that time.
Mr. Hunter said the board did not discuss changing Mr. Hickey’s roughly $217,000 resignation package.
He said he was pleased Mr. Hickey had discontinued using Facebook and Twitter. The former superintendent’s social media accounts had been a “real source of consternation” because it led to rumors, Mr. Hunter said.
“It seems like we are spending way too much time on this type of issue,” Mr. Hunter said, after the meeting. “I pray that this is the end of it.”
Mr. Hickey was reprimanded after a September investigation prompted by a staff member, who alleged Mr. Hickey harassed her after their alleged relationship ended. He was told to not interact with anyone he believes has filed a complaint against him.
Then, one evening in November, Mr. Hickey was captured on video surveillance repeatedly walking by the classroom door of that teacher, stopping, and taking a picture with his cell phone.
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