Teacher remains on administrative leave

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW — A well-liked computer and design teacher remains on paid administrative leave after he allegedly punched a student Feb. 13 at the high school.

“There’s no new information,” Supt. Russell Pickell said Thursday. “We’re waiting on the prosecutor. It’s not in our hands.”

Donald Ukrainec reportedly punched the student during Free Hug Day. Authorities were contacted, yet there was no official report when Ukrainec was placed on leave. A report has since been filed with authorities.

Free Hug Day is where students can hug each other if they are wearing a sticker and want to be hugged.

Calls to Ukrainec’s house and school voicemail were not returned by press time.

After the incident, students talked about what happened. One student said students ganged up on Ukrainec, who was not wearing a sticker. Some students said the teacher was defending himself.

Students say Ukrainec is well-liked by students. On www.ratemyteachers.com, Ukrainec receives mostly five stars from students rating him and glowing comments.

“The guy has real world experience doing consulting and other work in the auto industry, and also has an unnatural knowledge of CAD and all design,” one student posted. “Ukrainec integrates humor with stories and teaching and gets the job done well.”

“I’ve learned more from him than any other teacher,” another student posted. “Hardly ever need a book because he has his stuff down pat. You will actually learn stuff you need to know in the real world. The man is a comedy act too. Perfect combination of teaching and jokes to make the class interesting.”

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com)