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Published: Tuesday, 10/3/2006

Longtime TPS critic found not guilty of hitting member of school board

A former teacher and longtime critic of Toledo Public Schools was found not guilty of hitting a member of the school board today by a Toledo Municipal Court judge.

Claudia Cooper, 57, was acquitted of a disorderly conduct charge by Judge Timothy Kuhlman. Larry Sykes accused her of hitting him on the hand and using an obscenity toward someone else at a June 7 news conference at Grove Patterson Academy in West Toledo.

Mr. Sykes testified that he approached Ms. Cooper during the press conference to ask to her to be respectful.

Ms. Cooper, who did not testify during the trial, later said she recalled using profanity but has no memory of hitting Mr. Sykes.

Ms. Cooper was hired by the district in August, 1999, and left in March, 2001, when her position as a teacher was not renewed.

Board Vice President Deborah Barnett, Mr. Sykes, and board member Steven Steel were at Grove Patterson on June 7 to announce that they had formed a coalition named 3 for Children.

The 3 for Children coalition was formed to create a majority against Board President Darlene Fisher and member Robert Torres.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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