By CHARITY B. SMITH
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW — Riverview Community High School teacher Donald Ukrainec avoided termination Thursday during a special meeting of the school board.
“They aren’t firing me,” Ukrainec told a crowd of supporters who had filed in to the tiny cafeteria at the Central Office and had waited over an hour in the blistering heat to hear the verdict following the “termination hearing.”
The statement was welcomed with an uproar of applause from the crowd.
“We have to go through some legal stuff,” Ukrainec said, “but I will be back.”
Ukrainec has been on paid administrative leave since February, when he was accused of striking a student on “Free Hug Day.” The police were notified of the alleged assault; however, no charges were filed, no victim came forward, and there was no evidence of any crime. As a result, police closed the investigation.
The Riverview Community Schools Board of Education, however, said it had to conduct its own investigation to make sure Ukrainec was living up to the board’s standards. At Thursday’s “termination hearing,” both parties involved reached an undisclosed resolution.
Ukrainec is highly favored by his students. Many alumni turned out to show their support.
“Thank God! Humdeallah as they say in Arabic!” exclaimed 2005 graduate Ashley Stevens. “He was an amazing teacher. He’s inspirational.”
“I’m just happy he has his job,” 2011 graduate Samuel Aggor said. “He’s one of the best. He has taught me how to be elaborate with what I do. He gave me a lot of words of encouragement when I was being bullied.”
“Good outcome,” an anonymous woman said in passing.
(Charity B. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)