Man allegedly attacked by superintendent blasts school board
The man allegedly assaulted by former Northeastern School District Superintendent Shawn Minnich blasted the school board Monday night for its handling of the incident and said he will be running for a seat on the board himself.
Christopher Leh addressed board members at their regularly scheduled meeting, saying he was embarrassed for them for how they handled the situation, pointing to their silence over last year's alleged assault and their hesitation in suspending and dismissing Minnich.
Minnich was arrested Dec. 4, 2015, accused of assaulting Leh, the boyfriend of Minnich's estranged wife, Kathy Minnich. He has been charged with aggravated assault, burglary, making terroristic threats, simple assault, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and harassment.
"I'm the guy that Shawn beat up," Leh said, before being interrupted by board President Margie Walker.
"Allegedly," she said firmly, before protesting that his comment was not a board matter.
"It most certainly is," Leh said.
Leh told the board that by remaining silent on Minnich's charges and waiting to take action until they were required to, they acted shamefully.
"You had an opportunity to teach students in the district that violence is unacceptable, but you didn't do that," he said. "It's shameful. You should be embarrassed by that."
Minnich is awaiting trial. Leh said he hopes the board chooses to do the right thing before the trial and is not silent.
"I hope you make some good choices," he said.
Board member Robert Tabachini responded to Leh's comments.
"I will not get personally involved in the personal domestic disputes of residents of the school district," Tabachini said. "The board did not drop any balls. We followed the letter of the law."
Leh asked if he could respond to Tabachini's comments, but Walker refused because Leh had already spoken during the public comment section. When Leh tried to comment anyway, Walker shouted, "Mr. Leh, you have had your turn."
Leh said he would offer more comments at the next school board meeting, which will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 16, 2017. All board meetings are held at 41 Harding St. in Manchester.
After the meeting, Leh said he would be running for a seat on the school board next year.
Background: Despite requests for comment by The York Dispatch, the school board remained silent on the issue after Minnich was charged a little more than a year ago. The board continued to support Minnich until a June 2 meeting, when he was suspended without pay amid tears and statements of support by board members, including Tabachini.
The board eventually voted to dismiss Minnich, who lost his teaching certificate because of the charges, at a September meeting. The decision was the result of "unchanged and indefinite status of the Order of the Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Practices Commission," according to a board agenda.
The decision came after a 6-3 ruling in May by the Professional Standards and Practices Commission, which is an arm of the Department of Education, that suspended Minnich's teaching certificate and made him ineligible for the superintendent position.