Board of Education agrees to terminate Willoughby Middle School principal

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WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (WJW) – Board members agreed to move forward with terminating longtime Willoughby Middle School Principal Larry Keller.

Keller has been on paid administrative leave since June and the Willoughby-Eastlake Board of Education started considering his dismissal over his handling of an investigation into alleged student misconduct.

Documents released by the board after Monday’s meeting accuses Keller of “neglect of duty” and “dishonesty” stemming from an incident last May.

It says he failed to properly investigate a parent’s complaint involving a recording of a teacher gossiping with students about other students, including making comments about who, ‘vaped, flirted and had sexual relationships.”

When the parent concluded that Keller was not taking action on the complaint, she contacted Willoughby-Eastlake Superintendent Steve Thompson.

A school employee, who did not want to be identified, says the superintendent confronted Keller at the school.

“He was pounding his fist on the desk, yelling at Mr. Keller. Students heard it,” the employee told FOX 8.

We are told that Keller told the superintendent that he could not understand what the teacher and the students were discussing on the recording, and therefore took no action.

Documents say that during the investigation, they learned that Keller had also failed to properly report a previous alleged student sexting incident.

The teacher denied any wrongdoing and later resigned. Keller was placed on paid administrative leave in June but refused to resign, as requested by the superintendent.

The board says despite Keller’s stellar record, he was going to cover up for the teacher.

When contacted by FOX 8, Willoughby Police told us they never did an investigation and were never asked to do an investigation of the middle school principal and his handling of the situation.

The Willoughby- Eastlake Board of Education took action against Keller Monday night.

Before the decision was made, Superintendent Thompson issued a statement that reads in part: “Because this is a personal matter, until this is voted on by the Board of Education, I am not at liberty to discuss this at this time.”

Earlier on Monday, Keller told FOX 8, “I am hopeful that the truth will prevail. I am represented by an attorney and we are following all legal channels. I am confident that once all the facts are known, I will be exonerated.”

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