Dr. Dee Zeffiro-Krenisky, superintendent of Christie Lane, denied the claim of a former employee that a climate of intimidation hangs over employees.
“They are a cohesive team,” Zeffiro-Krenisky said of her employees, adding the work climate at the school and workshop for people with disabilities is “phenomenally wonderful.”
She said she has not seen high turnover in employees in almost 13 years at the agency, but it was her decision to not renew the contract for Lysa Cook.
“I do have a reason. I choose not to comment,” Zeffiro-Krenisky said.
Cook has filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission over the non-renewal of her contract.
In the complaint, Cook claimed that “a pattern of retaliation and discrimination” started after she reported possible abuse of an autistic student by a teacher.
Cook was service and supports administration director at Christie Lane in 2005 when she said she learned that an autistic student exited a room with a bloody mouth and told several staff members that teacher Janet Scheid caused his injury.
Cook said she was demoted after the incident and was told last April that her contract would not be renewed and she would be out of a job in August.
“She was not demoted,” Zeffiro-Krenisky said. “She was moved to another position that was on the exact same line on the table of organization.”
Zeffiro-Krenisky said the 2005 incident with Scheid and the student was handled properly.
“The incident that she references was investigated in-house by our internal investigative agent and also by the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities,” she said. “They did not substantiate the claim.”
“That whole investigation is classified as a major unusual incident,” she said, adding that state law makes all documents regarding the incident confidential and not available to the public.
Zeffiro-Krenisky said parents are always informed when a student is injured and the parents of the student had no complaints about the way the school handled it.
The superintendent said that Scheid, a physical education teacher, was disciplined over three years ago when a student was injured in gym class.
“Miss Scheid received a two-day suspension,” Zeffiro-Krenisky said. “She tossed a bean bag toward the student and it hit the student.”
Zeffiro-Krenisky said another staff member in the gym reported that incident.