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MICHAEL DOHANIC v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/20/87)

decided: November 20, 1987.

MICHAEL DOHANIC, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in the case of Michael Dohanic v. North East School District, Teacher Tenure Appeal No. 7-86, dated December 10, 1986.

COUNSEL

John J. Barber, Shamp, Arduini, Hain & Barber, for petitioner.

William C. Sennett, Knox, Graham, McLaughlin, Gornall & Sennett, Inc., for respondent.

Judges Barry and Palladino, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 193]

This is an appeal by Michael Dohanic (Petitioner) from a decision of the Secretary of Education (Secretary) which affirmed the action of the Board of Education of the North East School District (Board) dismissing him from his position as a teacher for immorality. We affirm.

Petitioner was employed as a seventh grade teacher by the North East School District at the Heard Memorial School which serviced students in grades four through seven. On or about April 1, 1986 Petitioner was verbally notified by the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Rudolph C. Rubeis, that he was suspended. On or about April 2, 1986, the Board sent Petitioner, by registered mail, a written statement of charges that had been assessed against him and a notice of hearing pursuant to Section 1127 of the Public School Code of 1949 (Code), Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. ยง 11-1127. This letter indicated that Petitioner's contract was subject to termination because charges of immorality,

[ 111 Pa. Commw. Page 194]

    incompetency, persistent negligence and insubordination had been assessed against him. On April 15, 1986 an amended notice of charges was forwarded to Petitioner which indicated that the charge of incompetency and persistent negligence had been amended.

Public hearings on the proposed dismissal were held on April 17, April 24, May 5 and May 9, 1986. The Board, on May 9, 1986, voted to dismiss Petitioner and on May 15, 1986 the Board adopted findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of its decision. The Board concluded in its decision that:

It has been demonstrated to the North East School District Board of Directors that Mr. Michael Dohanic is guilty of immorality and persistent negligence and that he authored numerous personal notes to female students which undermined parental and school authority, disturbed the moral and social orientation of the children and that he lied to his immediate supervisor, Mr. Tracy, regarding parental requests about the placement of their daughters in his homeroom.

Petitioner appealed the Board's decision to the Secretary. No additional evidence was received by the Secretary, but the Secretary did adopt additional findings of fact and rejected other findings of fact made by the Board. The Secretary concluded that the Board's decision to dismiss Petitioner for immorality was supported by substantial evidence and for that reason the Secretary did not address the issue of dismissal for persistent negligence.

Petitioner has set forth in his brief a multitude of issues for our review which we will group as follows: (1) whether the Secretary failed to take steps necessary for a proper review; (2) whether the Secretary's decision is ...


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