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Teacher Soils Himself, Offers Pants As Proof

Sat., Dec. 7, 1996

A teacher who said he soiled himself because the faculty bathroom was locked went to the school board and offered his pants as proof of poor conditions at his school.

Fifth-grade teacher Dow Ooten was then suspended with pay until a hearing on charges of misconduct, inappropriate behavior and unfitness to teach.

“There’s no excuse for this,” said Superintendent Everett Conn. “It’s unprofessional behavior to bring soiled clothing into any room, for any meeting.”

Ooten said the faculty bathroom was locked Thursday, and a teacher’s aide refused to let him into another restroom in the special education section.

“I was standing outside the bathroom and stayed out there with the door locked until it was too late,” he said.

Ooten said he tried to clean himself up, but his students knew something was wrong. He brought the pants and underwear in a clear plastic bag to the board later that night to complain about unfit conditions.

All Mingo County public schools, including Lenore, were closed for about a week last month due to an outbreak of hand-foot-and-mouth disease, which usually spreads through contact with feces, blisters or saliva on hands and toys. Thorough hand washing can help deter its spread.

Lenore Grade School was cited by health officials in January for unsanitary conditions, including a lack of soap and hot water. Conn said those problems were corrected, and denied reports that toilet tissue and paper towels were locked in a teacher’s desk.

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