Breaking News: UPDATED: Steve Riddle principal of Leverette Middle School resigns.

It has been disclosed on 11News that Steve Riddle has resigned as principal of Leverette Middle School. Now maybe, depending on who they put in as principal, this school will have leadership that is pro children. Out with the child predators, in with the child educators giving the students safe passage to a successful life.

It took awhile to eliminate this principal, how many children were damaged in the process?

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I see nothing about it on 11's web site but 13 has a story about it.
They still give no details. It sounds like you know all about it. Care to enlighten us?

Insinuating the man is a child predator is pretty serious. I hope you're sure of your "facts".

"We're all riding on the Hindenburg, no sense fighting over the window seats"-Richard Jenni

What about the FAB FOUR?

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

I read the media release and did not see any references to what you are accusing the man of. What do you know about this? Are your facts in order? If not, you are stirring the pot at someone else's expense?

Let's have the skinny on this one. The commercial news media isn't printing anything - only that Mr. Riddle resigned.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

Strong words, purnhrt - at this point there is only a bland "see ya later" response from John Foley that does not indicate any criminality on the part of Steve Riddle. Are you privy to information the rest of us have not yet accessed?

If not, I suggest a clarification on your part to keep from straying into libel territory.

that the principal is a child predator. Leverette is a school known for its predatory practices relating to children. I use predator as one who victimizes children either sexually, physically or psychologically.

I do know that Mr. Riddle was the principal when Harry Weatherholt (who is serving jail time) was convicted of molesting a young female student after taking her from her class. I do know that Mr. Charles Poznanski was fired and lost his teaching license for molesting two young female students. I do know that Mr. Riddle was accused of abusing male students, which was reported to the police, CSB and the DOJ.

I do know that I had a conversation with Mr. Riddle about the practice of Harry Weatherholt picking up students at 5:30 in the morning and giving them a ride to school. Mr. Riddle told me that since these young girls did not have transportation that he saw nothing wrong with that practice.

I have no idea what Mr. Riddle is accused of doing that would get him suspended and a subsequent resignation. But I do know that Leverette has a climate of improper behavior involving students and the adult staff. And hopefully that era is over.

We can do the innuendo
We can dance and sing
When it's said and done we haven't told you a thing
We all know that crap is king
We love dirty laundry!

and so forth. Don't you just love it when someone lifts up the rock and nothing scurries out? That what this story is looking more and more like all the time.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

counsel me on libel?
It is amazing to me that this stuff has to be rehashed over and over again. It is all common knowledge, especially on Swamp Bubbles.

OK

Your post is better understood now. Thank you for the clarification - taken in this context "child predators" makes sense. In the original post-level comments you did not include Weatherholt and Poznanski, who certainly qualify as "child predators" in my book.

Do you have any further information with regard to Riddle you can post about the CSB, TPD, or DOJ cases?

You mentioned that information about Leverette and "child predators" is "common knowledge, especially on SwampBubbles." For the record, I do not read every post on SB, and sometimes I go a week or more without visiting the site if my work or family obligations take up a lot of time. It helps if you can link to the relevant discussions for those of us who missed out on a particular thread, post, or comment.

For example, I am hyperlinking the post from 2008 about Harry Weatherholt's conviction for those who missed the news that this former TPS employee at Leverette received a 12-year sentence for sexual battery.

Just a suggestion.

And good followup. And good initial reporting, purnhrt. Your are, as Jesse Jackson said about another black woman in our city, "a gem" that we need to appreciate. And speaking about appreciation, I appreciate that madjack is a total ass-hole. His/her ramblings comfirm that. Keep speaking truth to power, tee-pee.

Patience is a great virtue.

Anyone picking up children under circumstances like this is asking for trouble. Let 'em walk. Have the lawsuits been filed yet?

According to the Blade, the reason for Steve Riddle's suspension (and subsequent resignation) was a series of 135 text messages to a "young woman" over a three-day period. The "young woman" (no age given) was not a TPS student, but Riddle's messages included profanities and a request to send pictures, including a picture of the "young woman" changing clothes.

Riddle apparently engaged in the alleged sexting during school hours.

13ABC reported that the recipient of Riddle's wave of text messages was a minor student from a non-TPS district. The girl's parents were the ones who turned Riddle in to TPS officials.

WOW

, this is rather disappointing.....I had just sent an email complimenting the school- which I believe is a direct reflection of the administration and leadership within the school. Indeed, this whole thing is wrong, but he is human and makes mistakes- a TPS employee or not!

I give TPS officials much credit for acting as they did. Reportedly, Mr. Foley took action immediately and followed the appropriate steps, as required by the district and unions. I know this behavior is not acceptable within TPS and was not excused by any means. Now Mr. Riddle will have to live with his life choices as we all do!

It seems TPS did not waste time, and they took seriously the complaint of the non-district parents. Riddle's lawyer claims this is a "misunderstanding," but it is difficult to see how 135 text messages to a minor can be misunderstood. Hell, I bet I have not sent 135 text messages in the entirety of 2009, let alone to one person in three days.

Riddle not the only one! What I hear is this has been an on going problem with a group commonly known within the system as the FAB FOUR.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

yeah it is "overkill" in three days....I am a texter, but that is seriously a lot of texting when other duties were put on hold. Mr. Riddle will have his day to explain. I want to believe innocent, until proven guilty.....He seemed like a kind man and really seemed to love his job. Time will tell.

nothing was taken seriously. Mr Foley's statement: "Mr. Steve Riddle has resigned from Toledo Public Schools to pursue other interests and opportunities. His resignation from the district is effective as of today" was a sham and a shame.
Hopefully Riddle's other interests are not in pursuit of other children to prey upon.
Leverette's reputation of teacher apathy, sexual misconduct by staff with students (regardless of whether or not it is a TPS student) and low student achievement should be a BIG wake up call to the tax paying citizens of Toledo.
The fact that Ottawa River will now be a K-8 releasing a school board member's children from attending Leverette is a mockery to the children who have no choice but to attend a school like this one.
Shame, Shame!

This is not the reason Ottawa River was turned into a K-8. the reason was there was no Jr. High in the area. There were was a promise that Point Place would not lose schools when it was annaxed into the City of Toledo. This is exactly what happened. Everyone wants thier kids as close to home as possible and not on a school bus for an hour or more. I was bussed to Leverette and it took an hour plus each way.

This process was started years ago when TPS was trying to close down Edgewater Ele school. There was a team of people who worked on a business plan, did many hours of research and found best practice supported evidence that kids do better in a k-8 school. I am sure I still have a copy of the business plan(if anyone is interested) Lisa was asked to write a statement into it but Dan P. wrote most of plan. With the support of Kris P., Wendy M., myself and many others.

This school going k-8 was in the works long before she ran for School board.

Also before race becomes an issue- A thorn in my side, Edgewater, Chase and Ottawa River are feeding into that K-8 model.

Please do not turn this into issue of that board member when the idea was brought forth by others, myself included. Edgewater was on the block and we wanted to save it. the first idea was to put a k-8 at Edgewater but the space was not there and it is land locked.

Also your comments say nothing about overcrowding that was caused from the state not funding for the current number of students and Leverette being too small to hold all the feeder schools.

I have listened to you at BOE meetings an thought at times you had some very valid points but I disagree with your opinion on this one.

There are many reasons why this school went k-8, the least of which is the BOE member you mention.

It is sad that TPS is in such shape. That anyone would think that such behavior is acceptable. I have not heard the entire story but that many texts is a crazy amount. I feel sorry for his wife and family. He will have to face the consequences.

KSchwartz

Just because Foley played nice and avoided rhetoric that could lead to a lawsuit doesn't mean that the superintendent did not take the problem seriously. The events happened December 10-12, and he was suspended about a week later. I'm assuming at least part of the lag involved some delay between the sexting and the parents of the minor student learning about the 32-year-old sender of the messages. Foley suspended Riddle within 24 hours of the parents contacting him, and Riddle resigned a week after that.

That, in my book, is quite fast. Do you have other information that this problem had been previously ignored?

Also, Foley has to watch his words until or unless there are criminal charges filed against Riddle. It is one thing to exercise poor judgment in carrying on some sort of virtual relationship, but quite another to cross the line into criminal sexual conduct. At this point it sounds like Riddle was dancing around the line, especially the alleged "changing clothes" request, but a prosecutor and/or jury might see the text in a different light.

In which case Foley and TPS could end up paying this purported weirdo beau coup settlement dollars if it turns out that Riddle's texts did not stray into illegal territory.

Anyways, Riddle is gone, and TPS is better for it.

sorry that you don't see the whole picture. Race has not been mentioned which some want to fall back on to invalidate the messenger.
I was at the board meetings when the group pushed for the middle school and I have no problem with that. I wouldn't want my child bussed either. I believe in neighborhood schools.
However, when Ottawa River was built as the first school in the "Building for Success" program it was built as a k-6. They got the first shovel of dirt thrown, (I was there). They opened first. Brand new school. No problem. The problem comes in (for me) when Ottawa River dips into the pool of money for the building of schools again to make the school a K-8, while one of the school board members children will profit from that dip.
Other schools such as Scott had not had a dime out of the 821 million when Ottawa River got back into the pot of money to expand their school.
The least Sobecki could have and should have done was to refrain from being on the OFSC committee when this deal went down. This smells a little rotten to me.
All of the schools should be K-8 as far as I am concerned. A school like Leverette with its "problems" now has 6th graders. It is the feeder school for Ottawa River. OR's students will be safely tucked away for eight years (and I don't have a problem with that) and don't have to leave their neighborhood (and I don't have a problem with that,) but I do have a problem with how the deal went down and whose children will profit because their mother was on the OFSC committee.

this was started years ago then it should have been in the original OFSC building plan, when the ground was first broken for Ottawa River. If promises were made then, the school should have been built as a k-8 then, not years later. This reeks of nepotism at the most or deception at the least.

Just a couple of things, the old OR has a problem with funk, a moldy smell that has been looked into many times. Educare which is the same style buliding, I believe built the same year does not have these problems.

Between this and the fact that OR had the land available to build witout having to move students into portables would be the most ideal. They could build the school and use the old for swing space. I asked this question many times to many different people. When my own child went there for preschool is when I really started to notice the funk. Again this all happened before Sobeci was on BOE.

Race was not mentioned in your post. I put it in mine as that was an arguement when there was talk of turning Or into a k-8. I was not implying that this was your thoughts, just putting it out there as I encountered this thinking many times when the case for k-8 was made.

Sobecki was not on school board when the plan was set into motion. It was actually another product of another probelm child at TPS- Dan Burns. When I talked to him about Edgewater. we org wanted k-8 at Edgewater but it ws not possible so the next best choice was OR as they had the land.

These kids are "safely tucked away" in thier own community, a comunity that has problems like any other. We choose to live here just as many generations of my family have.

TPS was losing a large percentage to St. John's and charter schools. I had many people I went to school with leave after thier kids got out 4th grade. Those kids that left translated into lost $ for the district. In addition to leaving a large gap in filled houses in this community. I can't rember the figure but I think by adding 6-8, it would save the district millions in lost students. Also this would be a long term savings as people would stay in the community longer and send thier kids to OR vs. private or charter.

There was also an outpouring of community support, Speg. dinner, Rummage sale etc.

As far as I know Edgewater has not gotten a dime out of the OFSC budget either. We all want to save the schools we are attached to, as you know it takes a dedicated team to get involved and make noise.

I know that Scott has a lot of history for some people, Just as Edgewater holds a lot of history for my family. My family has all been through Edgewater except my own children. We had to make a very hard decision and decided on St. John's. St. John's could beat the numer of student to teacher ratio and my child has some delays and social issues that were best addressed in a smaller class room.

To be honest I don't know if saving Scott would bring more $ to the district or not. I have not been involved as I once was. I have a three year old that has had some developmental issues and that has taken most of my time and energy.

Long and the short of it is, a business case was made showing the district the money and they responded. All was set in motion long before Sobeci took office and long before she sat on the OFSC board.

And just a note: She would have gladly sent her kids to Leverette and even suggested I take a tour and do a drop in unannounced.

There are good people there that do try and love what they do, do all? I don't know. I do know they are underperforming and have lots of problems and now a leader who thought it was ok to text somethings that are so wrong on so many levels!

KSchwartz

OR

By years I mean approx 4. Org plan was Edgewater to be rebulit, then was taken off the list and put on the to be closed list. this is how almost all of this was started. The community used to have all levels of schools in the Point Place area. and then was left with just the two Ele schools.

The promise that was made has changed so many times, I can't keep up. I don't agree with all the decisions that were made but the nepotism that you speak of does not exist in this situation.

OR only became a K-8 as a business model/case was made and this was after the org OFSC plan was in place.

KSchwartz

I was there when you all spoke at board meetings about Edgewater, etc. I am not privy to any back door deal/promise that was made, however the facts remain the same. In Phase One, Ottawa River was the first school that broke ground in the 821 million dollar Building for Success Program. It was the first school that was completed. Then in Phase Six, more money was taken out of the Building for Success Program while Lisa Sobecki was a TPS board member to add on to Ottawa River to make it a K-8 school. Other schools had not had a penny used towards their renovation or rebuilding but Ottawa River went back in and got more money while the board member's children were able to circumvent Leverette. These actions occurred while Ms. Sobecki was on the OFSC committee. She should have either abstained or removed herself from the action so as to not "appear" to be getting a deal for her children.

there were no back door deals, It was all put in the public, there were at least 2 extra copies of the business plan floating around that night. I know, I made the copies.

The reason for adding onto OR was a simple business decision. It came up when we talked with Burns about the community concerns about the lack of a Jr. High. He suggested we do the research and propose a business plan.

I agree to disagree ont he apperence of getting a deal for her children. This was set into motion by others, not her as children's Mom. she did get a deal for her children, insted, the BOE listened to a very vocal and well written business plan that could save the district millions in the short term, let alone the long term. It was not a deal for her children, it was a business decion based on a well thought out and executed business plan.

I understand that Lisa, Myself, You or anyone else is not above reproach but this was not a deal for her kids. it was based on financial figures put forth by other people.

KSchwartz

why Burns should be thoroughly investigated/audited because of special deal "business plans."
Being above reproach is not the subject, I am not a public employee, I don't know if you are or not but I know Lisa Sobecki is and her children profited from her being on the OFSC committee long after the "business plan" was back room promised.

I know what went down, we were taking bets to see if Ms. Sobecki's children would be going to Leverette. I guess we see how that worked out for her family.
Darlene Fisher was taken off of the OFSC committee so that the deal could go down without hindrance (not to say that OR wouldn't have still become a K-8 anyway). Ms. Sobecki should have removed herself from the scene so that there would not be even an appearance of her family profiting from her position.

OR

There was no back room deal. I wanted to know to know why there was no Jr. High in the area etc. How to keep Edgewater open etc. His only response was to show the BOE why it was is the best interest to make the changes we wanted.

Translation: Walk the walk and talk the talk. What motivates any company or non profit is usually $.

So telling us to show why it was in the best interest of the BOE to do this is some sort of backroom deal is way beyond me.

It makes sense to show TPS in dollars and cents what they were losing every year by kids not feeding into Leverette.

Sorry there is no back room deal. This plan was put together by people that care about the community they live and wanted our kids not to be bussed so far away from home.

KSchwartz

Good for you kSchwartz!
As for purnhrt, are you serious? "taking bets"?

"kids feeding into Leverette?" (Ottawa River, Edgewater Leverette, Woodward.) (Glenwood, Fulton, Robinson, Scott.) (Elmhurst, Longfellow, Deveaux, Start.) ( Eastside Central, Oakdale, East Broadway, Waite.) (Walbridge, Newbury, Jones, Libbey.) (Keyser, Crossgates, Byrnedale, Bowsher.) (Reynolds,Hawkins, McTigue, Rogers).
Kids feed into their Feeder schools. What was the Middle school for Point Place?

Wolfman
Who/what is the fab four you refer to? Not sure what reference you are making and am very curious.
Also, it appears to me that there are a great many problems with the public school system. I don't, however, buy into a "conspiracy theory". I would think that it is more a case of collective mis-management, which would include the participating general public. Successful communities work toward successful rennovation of their systems, in a collaborative manner. T town residents seems to be "hung up" on taking easy shots and not participating in positive reform efforts. It also seems to be the local "fashion" to bash any organization that is mentioned in the local rag. It is really starting to feel like this is a good area to move away from?

Allin the reference to the Fab Four comes from within the TPS system. What Wolfman hears is the Riddle case is NOT alone. Seems administration has, at best, a lack over site on rogue elements within the system. Wolfman is sure that almost any tenured TPS employee knows of what he speaks and some, he thinks, will do so off-the-record. Wolfman wishes not to cast aspersions or ruin anyone's character from misinformation or second hand rumor but this is out there and the local media needs to look into it.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

inneuendo and second-hand rumors won't do much to help the situation at TPS in general or Leverette specifically.

Fab Four, eh? I had no idea The Beatles played at Leverette. Got that show on a bootleg copy?

I Know my limits here. Hearing this second hand and I'm not an expert in the affairs of TPS. But my source has always been truthful so I though it had some merit. This is a job for the local media to check sources find out all the facts no rumors. Many at TPS are afraid to speak out so I'll let others do their jobs. If not the story dies.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

This from your Wednesday post which I missed:

""""""""Race was not mentioned in your post. I put it in mine as that was an arguement when there was talk of turning Or into a k-8. I was not implying that this was your thoughts, just putting it out there as I encountered this thinking many times when the case for k-8 was made."""""""

All during the open meetings at the board of education when your group brought the "business plan" to the board, race was never, ever mentioned or an issue. Now what took place behind closed doors could have and probably did have racial overtones. I could hear the conversation in my brain. "If we do X,Y, or Z it could turn into a racial problem." So only you, Burns and others would be privy to those conversations.

Whether "saving Scott" would bring more money to the district is not the issue. My community needs a high school that has a high quality curriculum, good teachers, etc. Scott used to be that school. We are also tired of sending our children out of our neighborhood.

As far as Ms. Sobecki's involvement, check your dates. She was involved in the beginning and was on the board during Phase 5/6 when the money came back out of the 821 million Building for Success Program for Ottawa River and was on the OFSC committee when the money was being debated, at the same time Foley was trying to shut down Scott for good, by keeping the money dedicated to Scott and dispersing it to other entities.

Fair is fair and right is right. The least Ms. Sobecki should have done was to recuse herself so as not to appear nepotistic.

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