Resignation of teacher OK’d

By MAX FILBY
STAFF WRITER

MOUNT BLANCHARD — The Riverdale school board unanimously voted to accept the resignation of kindergarten teacher Barbara Williams on Monday.

Williams, who was caught on camera in May shoving and picking up 6-year-old student Ian Nelson by his face, is facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge of child endangerment in Findlay Municipal court.

Monday’s vote ended Williams’ 15 years in the district without any discussion or comments from the public on the issue. The resignation also ended what Superintendent Eric Hoffman described as a “difficult time” for the district.

“We’ll be OK. It’s a tough district,” Hoffman said. “It’s time to move forward.”

Williams submitted her resignation to Hoffman on Friday morning.

She listed “personal reasons” as to why she was choosing now to vacate her position in the district, according to her resignation letter. Williams’ letter only consisted of two sentences, one announcing her resignation and one thanking the administration.

Dan Margolis, a Cleveland attorney hired by the Nelson family, 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 Friday. “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.

Members of the public have questioned the intentions of Margolis and the Nelson family in comments posted in connection with previous news stories on the issue. Federal law prohibits Riverdale schools from releasing any part of a student’s records, Hoffman 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 tenure 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 or further accusations 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.

Hoffman declined to comment further on Williams’ resignation Monday because the cases are still pending with the city prosecutor and the Ohio Department of Education.

Williams has pleaded not guilty in Findlay Municipal Court to a misdemeanor charge of child endangerment.

The Ohio Department of Education is not allowed to confirm whether it is investigating Williams, John Charlton, associate director for media relations, said in June. The state could suspend Williams’ teaching license or permanently revoke it, Charlton said.

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