Northwest NEWS

October 11, 1999

Local News

No student contact for Kokanee's Leede

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   NORTHSHORE--John Frank Leede, the Kokanee Elementary School teacher who denied allegations by seven of his young students that he repeatedly fondled their breasts, will not be allowed any contact with students during his last year with Northshore School District.

   A new investigation by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction's office will now try to determine whether Leede's teaching certificate will be suspended, revoked, or if he will only receive a letter of reprimand, said Northshore spokesperson Dr. Pamela Steele.

   Leede and Northshore agreed that he will receive his $55,000 salary for the 1999-2000 school year, on condition he drop a grievance and appeal of his firing and that his resignation will take effect at the end of the year.

   "We've received several calls from parents asking why we would still keep him employed and pay his salary," said Steele. "After telling them all the conditions we've had to consider, they understood. Four months have passed since he was arrested. Since no criminal charges have been filed yet, we realized we couldn't wait for the criminal process to resolve this issue. It would have been very emotionally draining on students, parents, and staff to proceed with the appeal process. The uncertainty of the appeal process could drag out the case to where it would cost taxpayers a great deal more than a year's salary. Now we can put this incident behind us, and students and staff can start the new school year free of that emotional stress.

   "Parents have asked if his resignation means he could teach somewhere else, like in eastern Washington. Since he spent over 20 years teaching in the Northshore District, any school considering his application would ask us for a recommendation. We would say he resigned to stop a due process hearing to determine just cause for his firing. If they asked the next logical question--why we fired him--we would send them copies of our reports."