BECKLEY - A Raleigh County teacher was fired at a Board of Education hearing Wednesday, following a sexual misconduct incident at Woodrow Wilson High School during the school year.
After a lengthy hearing of more than five hours, the board weighed evidence involving social studies teacher Michael "Chuck" Cooper and voted to terminate his contract with Raleigh County Schools, upholding Superintendent Jim Brown's recommendation. It was a unanimous decision by the board.
Board of Education President Rick Snuffer said there was a lot of evidence given and several witnesses testified, including Brown and the City Police. Snuffer said the decision was not made lightly. "We terminated someone's career today - someone who's given a lot of his life to Raleigh County Schools and it's regrettable," Snuffer explained. "But at the end of the day, mistakes were made and consequences occurred because of that."
The line for relationships between teachers and students is going to be reinforced, explained Snuffer. "We have to do what's best for all Raleigh County students," he said. "We have to send a message out there that we're protecting Raleigh County students and we'll be there for them at all times."
Cooper was employed with Raleigh County Schools for more than fifteen years, according to Snuffer. He was also the head football coach at Independence High School and assistant wrestling coach at Woodrow Wilson High School.