Student meetings

Superintendent Jeff Pancione addresses the senior class at Hampshire High School Monday morning.

Superintendent heads off walkout with student sessions   

SUNRISE SUMMIT — A student walkout was headed off at Hampshire High Monday, but questions still abound about the crux of the unrest — the absence of Principal DiAnna Liller.

Superintendent Jeff Pancione met with HHS students class by class in closed sessions Monday morning, but remained tight-lipped about what he described as a personnel matter.

He confirmed that Liller is on “paid leave,” but would not discuss the reason behind it, citing personnel policy.

“There’s a lot of finger-pointing out there and we would like to diffuse it,” said Personnel Director Terrie Jo Saville.

Amy Haines, the director of secondary education, was at the high school last week and the beginning of this week overseeing operations.

Pancione sent an automated call to HHS parents Sunday evening advising that fire marshal and safety concerns would preclude students from gathering outside the principal’s office Monday after the opening bell. He also pointed out that the students could not engage in activities that disrupt the educational process.

Instead, he said, he would meet with each grade individually to listen to their concerns and tell them what he could.

Liller announced her intent to resign at the end of the school year — or sooner if she found other work — in an email to HHS staff in early December. The board of education accepted her resignation at its Jan. 21 meeting, effective June 30.

Board Attorney Kim Croyle of Bowles and Rice issued the following statement:

“Ms. Liller tendered her resignation, effective no later than June 30, 2020, to the Hampshire Board of Education.  On Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, Ms. Liller was placed on paid leave while we look into a number of issues at Hampshire High School.   

“We are unable to comment as to whether or not there are harassment complaints being investigated at the high school.  Hampshire County Schools takes very seriously its obligation to keep all students and employees free from harassment from any source, including social media. We are committed to ensuring that no person is being harassed or retaliated against, and will take appropriate measures if we find that our policies have been violated.”

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