Jon Ross was fired April 20 after Greenville school board members found him guilty of sexually harassing seven colleagues at Hempfield Elementary School.

The board on Wednesday decided to release that information because Ross on Monday issued a statement saying he was wrongfully fired for reasons not including sexual harassment.

The board and Ross had a confidentiality agreement and he wasn�t named April 20 based on legal advice, but Ross� statement breaks that agreement, board President Michael Downing said to a room of about 100 people.

Ross, who taught third grade and was on unpaid suspension since the fall, was fired for immorality and persistent and willful violation or failure to comply with school laws. His termination had nothing to do with his role as Greenville Education Association president, nor was it in retaliation for his accusations against Superintendent Dr. Patricia M. Homer, Downing said.

The board assured parents that Ross� violations had nothing to do with his role as a teacher and his harassment was directed at colleagues, not students, over a six-year period.

In March of 2008, two female employees at Hempfield Elementary told administrators Ross directed inappropriate sexual comments at them.

The district�s labor relations attorney Charlie Steele investigated the claims and one of the women was reluctant to pursue the matter because she didn�t want to be treated like �G.R.�

Downing said G.R. is a former female employee who became a victim of retaliation by Ross because he thought she reported him for sexual harassment.

In January of 2002, another employee told administrators about Ross harassing G.R. Ross was questioned by then-principal Janet Hoffman and she confirmed the harassment and put a written reprimand in Ross� personnel file.

For the next six years, Ross shunned G.R. and refused to cooperate with her and in 2007, threw a stack of tests at her head, which amounted to �covert retaliation,� Downing said.

G.R. testified at Ross� private termination hearings and no one could have appreciated the emotional toll Ross had on her, Downing said.

A total of seven current or former employees testified Ross made inappropriate sexual comments to them or they witnessed his harassment against G.R.

�Most troubling to the board were inappropriate sexual comments Jon Ross made to female employees within hearing range of young students,� Downing said.

Because Ross� firing involved other colleagues and not students, the board offered him a �last chance agreement� to return to his job. By appealing his termination as Ross announced Monday means he refused that agreement.

If he took the agreement, Ross would have been required to undergo counseling and would have been moved to a different school building, Downing said.

Jamie Park and several other parents said a lot of their questions were answered but she�s still concerned about protecting her children, especially since Ross had the chance to return to work.

Parent Melissa Hause said she�s also concerned about whether the students witnessed more of Ross� harassment than the board knows of, especially directed at other teachers.

�I look at all of the teachers as a family,� she said.

Several parents had to ask the board how much money they�ve spent on Ross� termination process before Downing finally said it�s been about $80,000 so far.

Jay Bartosh asked about Ross� allegations that Dr. Homer used school employees to do work at her home during school hours with school equipment. Attorney Daniel P. Wallace, the district�s solicitor, said he investigated the claims and found no evidence proving Ross� accusations.

Dr. Homer discussed those claims at Ross� hearings after Ross brought it up, something she shouldn�t have done because it wasn�t related to his firing, Wallace said. Wallace gave Ross� attorney the chance to declare a mistrial, but he waived it.

Fourteen-year board member Nancy Kremm said Ross is a good teacher, but she found him guilty of harassment. Board member Alice Matusz wanted parents to know they�re working with the students in mind.

�We wouldn�t put your kids at risk. Your kids are safe,� she said.

Mrs. Park said her children shouldn�t have to hear whatever Ross said, especially in school, and while she�s not for or against him, it�s a matter of right and wrong and the students are caught in the middle.

The board is prepared to defend Ross� decision to appeal his termination at hearings set for June 17 and 18 before the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, Downing said.

Board members voted to amend the minutes of the April 20 meeting to include Ross� name, which they said correct any potential violations of the state�s Open Records law. The Herald is still appealing the district�s lack of response to an open records request for Ross� termination agreement.

Contacted after the meeting, Ross would only say he was innocent.

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