Embattled teacher to step down



MOUNT BLANCHARD — The Riverdale school board is set to accept the resignation of kindergarten teacher Barbara Williams on Monday.
Williams’ resignation is listed on the board’s agenda and will become effective immediately upon approval.
Williams submitted her resignation Friday morning, Superintendent Eric Hoffman said.
“We’re getting ready to start the school year and now we’ll be able to hire somebody new,” Hoffman said. “It’s time to move forward.”
Williams was caught on camera in May shoving and picking a student up by the face. She is facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge for child endangerment in Findlay Municipal Court in connection with the incident.
Following the incident, Williams was suspended by the school district for the remainder of the school year.
Hoffman said he “strongly” believes the board will accept the resignation at its 7 p.m. Monday meeting in the district’s central office boardroom.
Williams was seen shoving 6-year-old Ian Nelson in the security camera footage, which went viral online. Dan Margolis, a Cleveland attorney the family has hired, said he suspected Williams would resign soon.
“My feeling is that a freight train was heading down the tracks and she finally saw it coming,” Margolis said. “Riverdale students will be safer as a result.”
Margolis said the resignation would likely be a “relief” to the families of Riverdale students and that the Nelson family would also be happy about the announcement.
“I know the family will be thrilled to hear the news,” Margolis said.
Margolis previously made headlines when he said Williams was undercharged and claimed a conflict of interest involving the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and Williams’ husband. Jim Williams has worked as a chaplain for the sheriff’s office. Since then, April and Bryce Blanton, the parents of a second student, accused Williams of harming their son by grabbing him a few years ago.
During her 15 years with the school district, Williams received mostly positive evaluations. Riverdale Elementary Principal Julie Spade described her teaching as “skilled” and “accomplished,” according to Williams’ personnel file.
Williams’ attorney, Jay Feldstein, has declined to comment on any charges filed against his client.
The child endangerment charge Williams faces carries a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and a maximum fine of $1,000 for a first-degree misdemeanor, according to state law.
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