Principal foe: board must censor newspaper

HANCOCK — After reporting news of a campaign to remove a principal, the Daily Mining Gazette came under attack at Monday’s School Board meeting, during which a local resident, Jodi Mikesch, asked the board to censor news articles written about the school.

“I’m very embarrassed about the articles,” said Mikesch, a Franklin Township Board trustee. “We’re already having problems keeping the students here, and we do not need any more negative publicity. I believe the board should step in and ask (a DMG reporter) to stop, or at least speak to someone, maybe a supervisor. I ask the board to consider proofing or approving any articles that he may write about a teacher or about Hancock Schools.”

She referred to one article specifically, published in the Feb. 13 Daily Mining Gazette. The article reported Hancock resident, Frank Hawthorne, spoke to the board, expressing his appreciation for the school district’s efforts in improving the buildings and the district as a whole. He went on to criticize some unnamed staff members as having personal agendas and vendettas.

“These stories cannot be published,” Mikesch said. “There is obviously certain tension between certain admin and individuals, but articles like this are stirring the pot and making us look bad. And from what I see, and what I hear, too, the principal is not doing his job.”

The article upset many who until recently were working behind the scenes to prevent the contract renewal of High School Principal Ezekiel Ohan.

The opposition that has been growing more vocal in recent months, and according to many, has begun affecting the learning environment of the students.

While addressing the board, Mikesch also spoke about a newspaper article from Nov. 30, which stated 104 Hancock students having left the school for other districts.

“I did some digging myself and found that 63 of those students have been since Ohan took over as principal,” she said. “That is more than half in two years.”

Mikesch did not provide evidence to support her contention that Ohan was responsible for those students leaving the district.