Hundreds support Blanchester HS principal

Posted at 6:59 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 12:17:31-05

BLANCHESTER, Ohio -- A regular meeting of board members for the Blanchester Local School District was anything but ordinary Monday night.

Hundreds showed up to support Rick Hosler, the principal of Blanchester High School who has been on paid administrative leave since November.

Hosler received a standing ovation from students, parents and other Blanchester residents.

"When I walked in, I went, 'Wow,'" Hosler said. "My legs got a little weak. It was just marvelous and very humbling."

Signs at the high school gymnasium show support for Hosler. Photo by Ashley Zilka

"He is an amazing principal. He cares about everyone -- even the people who get in trouble all the time still love him, and we adore him and he cares for every single one of us," said Sara Abirached, a senior at Blanchester High School.

Letters in Hosler's personnel file detail what Superintendent Dean Lynch described repeatedly as "unprofessional" behavior, including insufficiently investigating a sexual harassment complaint among his staff, intimidating staff, disrupting a Clinton County Juvenile Probation Administrators meeting, and heckling a student judge during a spring track meet.

READ MORE: Students rally for embattled principal

Most recently, Hosler reportedly had a “meltdown” on Nov. 11 and threw things during a meeting with an employee. Lynch wrote in a letter to Hosler:

You allegedly called the student service coordinator into a meeting and proceeded to have a 'meltdown,' threw things, screamed/yelled and made statements such as, 'No one is running my building or telling my teachers what to do. I'm the principal. Don't you dare talk to my teachers. Dean [Lynch] and Brigid [Carson, Director of Instruction] are trying to run my building. I'm the principal of this building.' This is in addition to other complaints of unprofessional behavior by staff and parents this school year and last.

The Nov. 11 incident prompted the current investigation and Hosler's subsequent administrative leave.

When contacted shortly afterward, Hosler told WCPO he was getting a lawyer and would not talk about the allegations.

Despite the allegations, several people spoke in support of Hosler.

"Mr. Hosler is passionate about ensuring success of students of Blanchester High School. He is actively involved in students' lives, always ensuring students have a motivator in an academic setting," said Richard Davis, a student at Blanchester High.

Lynch was not at Monday night's meeting; board members said he was sick. According to the school board, the decision to put Hosler on leave was not a disciplinary action, but instead was part of standard procedure.

Parents and students said they hoped Hosler would be back to work soon. 

However, no action was taken on Hosler's employment at Monday night's meeting.

Hosler's attorney said Hosler was interviewed for four hours Friday by the school board, but the investigation is ongoing.


Correction: A prior version of this story indicated that the school board could make a decision about Hosler on Monday night; WCPO regrets this error.