Former Red Lion superintendent had shown 'unacceptable and hurtful behavior,' district officials say

Meredith Willse
York Dispatch

Former Red Lion Superintendent Scott Deisley's early departure, long shrouded in mystery, came after an investigation of allegations of misconduct, school officials confirmed Thursday.

The board issued a statement in advance of Thursday night's meeting, saying, "an investigation has revealed behaviors including profane, vulgar and intimidating words and actions that constitute persistent and willful violation of School Law, District policy and his contract.”

It added that the board does not tolerate such behavior and apologized to any employee who endured the “unacceptable and hurtful behavior.” 

UPDATE:United Way announces former Red Lion superintendent's resignation

In April, Deisley announced he would retire in January 2023. In early October, rumors spread throughout the community about his early departure. The district did not respond to requests for comment about those rumors but later confirmed that Deisley had been placed on leave.

Red Lion school officials have repeatedly refused to comment on the matter. The statement issued Thursday does not specify the full nature of the alleged misconduct, and it's unclear what the district meant by a "violation of School Law." Requests for comment Thursday were not immediately returned.

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The district denied two Right-to-Know Law requests — on Oct. 25 and Nov. 17 — for information concerning Deisley's sudden departure, citing an exemption for personnel and investigative records. The Dispatch is appealing the denial and pursuing other records.

Red Lion Area School District Superintendent Scott Deisley talks about Ron Fitzkee, background, during an unveiling of a portrait of Fitzkee outside the Ronald E. "Abe" Fitzkee Athletic Center at the high school Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Fitzkee served as athlete, teacher, coach, principal and superintendent during his career in the district. Staff at the school added the larger photograph in addition to an existing plaque. Bill Kalina photo

When reached at his home Oct. 13, Deisley said "there will always be rumors" and declined further comment on the matter. He did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The board's most recent statement came days after Deisley emailed The York Dispatch to say he is focusing on his private life and family. 

“Although I have closed this chapter of my professional life by retiring from public education, I will always cherish the time that I spent in the Red Lion Area School District,” he wrote Nov. 11.  Deisley added he is confident the district will thrive. 

"I don't want to focus on what I may have accomplished in public education over the years but am looking forward to new challenges, should they present themselves," he wrote.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Red Lion Education Center, 696 Delta Road. The meeting room only holds 30 people, but others can attend via Zoom, for which participants need to register in advance. 

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The school board sent a letter to Red Lion parents and families in October announcing that Deisley was on leave and Eric Wilson, the district’s chief instructional officer, would be taking on Deisley’s responsibilities along with his own. The letter also said information regarding the search for a new superintendent “will be forthcoming” but made no mention of the investigation into Deisley's alleged behavior.

During a Nov. 3 meeting, the board announced that members had accepted an earlier resignation date from Deisley, moving the date up to Nov. 4. They also named Wilson acting superintendent. 

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Deisley's early retirement also triggered York County School of Technology's joint operating committee to announce a new superintendent of record — a position Deisley held — during a meeting this month. 

Deisley is chairman of the United Way of York County’s board of directors and was named “York County’s Most Influential People for 2022 in Education” by the York Daily Record. As of Thursday morning, Deisley's name still appeared as chair of the United Way board.

— Reach Meredith Willse at or on Twitter at @MeredithWillse.