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Wapak Super Receives Harassing Letter

January 6, 2012

WAPAKONETA — Deputies with the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a harassing letter placed in the home mailbox of the Wapakoneta City Schools superintendent.

“It appears that the correspondence may be related to current contract negotiations in the district,” Sheriff Al Solomon said on Friday about the letter found last weekend in the mailbox at Keith Horner’s Cridersville area residence.

Solomon said there was no indication that the letter was connected to vandalism that occurred during the same time period at the school district’s administrative offices, located on Gardenia Drive.

The letter was placed inside Horner’s mailbox at his home between 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday, or New Year’s Day, and was not sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

“We’re taking it very seriously,” Solomon said. “It is a concern that this issue was taken to his home.”

The sheriff said the letter was harassing, but no direct threats were made to the superintendent or his family.

Superintendent Keith Horner described the letter as unfortunate.

He said because of its nature and being delivered directly to his home, he reported it to the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.

Horner said no other school officials, including board members, have reported receiving letters of a harassing nature.

He declined to comment further about the situation, only to say it continued to be a concern.

Between New Year’s Day and Tuesday, vandals used red spray paint to write three messages directed at school officials on the administration building, located at 1102 Gardenia Drive. The messages were discovered as students and staff returned to school from Christmas break.

The messages, “Shame on you,” “We want the truth,” and “We taxpayers want the truth” cost the district $100 in manpower hours to clean off of window screens and an electrical transformer.

Since the vandalism occurred within city limits, Wapakoneta police officers and detectives are handling that investigation, but Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock said on Friday that they have no suspects or leads and it appears the vandals struck before a snowfall blanketed the area.

“If anyone knows or witnessed anything suspicious, give us a call,” Hunlock said. “If we do develop leads we will follow them.”

He said they are working with the sheriff’s office, keeping each other apprised of the situation as a whole.

On Saturday, Wapakoneta Board of Education members voted to implement its last, best and final offer with the Wapakoneta Education Association (WEA), with whom they had been negotiating since April.

They have been working under an expired contract since July. The two groups had been working with a federal mediator, who still has the ability to bring the two sides together, but all discussion must be with the mediator present.

Teachers are preparing to strike and have voted to give the authority to union officials to issue a 10-day strike notice to the school administrators but notice of a strike has not been given.

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