Wood County Schools provide more details on teacher suspension

Wood County Schools says they suspended the teacher before he was arrested.
Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 1:48 AM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Wood County Schools is clarifying the timeline of how they responded to the accusations against Emerson Elementary P.E. Teacher Nathan Cunningham.

Cunningham was arrested on a felony count of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian, or a person in a position of trust on March 29th. He is accused of inappropriate behavior and physical contact with a child under the age of 14 between March 2021 and March 2023.

A correction to previous coverage - Cunningham is not technically a former teacher. He is still employed with Wood County Schools, however he is suspended.

According to a press release, Wood County schools administrators found out about the accusations on March 6th. The school system stated that they immediately took action, alerting law enforcement, suspending Cunningham, and removing him from school grounds within hours of the accusation coming to light. Since then, Cunningham’s been banned from school grounds and events.

Michael Erb, the Wood County Schools’ media contact, clarified that the reason there was a vote for Cunningham’s suspension in late March is that, while the superintendent has the right to immediately suspend an employee, if that suspension will last beyond 30 days, it must be voted on.

Cunningham is currently suspended with pay, according to Erb. He explained that, unless a suspension is a disciplinary action, that it has to be with pay. Because the situation is currently being investigated, it is not considered a disciplinary action.

Erb told WTAP that whether or not Cunningham is fired depends on the school system’s internal investigation.

For more background, click here.