FOX19 Investigates: Lakota accuses band director of violations - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 Investigates: Lakota accuses band director of violations

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Lakota West High School's marching band performs. File photo Lakota West High School's marching band performs. File photo
WEST CHESTER, OH (FOX19) -

Lakota West High School's band director has been suspended for 17 days without pay after a district investigation found that he violated several policies and state laws, including using his official influence for personal gain.

A letter dated Monday to Greg Snyder, the district's executive director of human resources outlines the conduct led to the suspension.

"Mr. Snyder, I must indicate to you that I am deeply concerned for your disregard for board of education policies, the Licensure of Professional Conduct, ethical considerations and other directives given by Lakota administration," Diane Brunsman said. "This attitude and disregard is not acceptable and will not be tolerated."

Snyder has conducted a band clinic for seventh, eighth and ninth grade students for nearly 20 years that's never been a district sponsored event. Before the past two years, Snyder received the student participation fee money directly for the band clinic.

Snyder advertised the band clinic by posting a flyer that sits next to programs at band concerts and he made the flyer on his district-provided computer.  Snyder determines who receives money for the clinic.

The district said that conduct violated several policies and state laws, including the state's prohibition against the use of official influence for personal gain.

Snyder also encouraged the hiring and payment of family members by the Upbeat Club band boosters for band camp. That violates state law that says public employees are not permitted to authorize or use their authority to secure a public contract for himself, relatives or business associates.

The district also said that Snyder hosted private lessons at his home for Lakota district students. Board policy required that he received permission for the lessons but the district found no records that he received the approval. The board found that Snyder gave students extra credit for taking private lessons.

Since at least 2004, Snyder received free school band-related trips from travel agencies. The district didn't pay for the trips. Until a recent New York trip, Snyder arranged the traveling. He decided what vendors to use for travel services, Brunsman said.

The travel-related conduct violated several policies including the prohibition against the use of official influence for personal gain, the district said.

Brunsman found more alleged misconduct.

At last year's band camp, a student was told by a college student to run laps while all staff and students went inside. The student passed out outside alone. The student's father found the student and spoke to Snyder about the incident. But Snyder didn't tell anyone at the district about the episode.

"You were the district employee in charge during this incident and failed to adequately supervise the students," Brunsman wrote.

The district also said that a uniform vendor treats Snyder and his wife to a variety of places for dinner including Applebee's, Skyline and an annual dinner at The Precinct or other Jeff Ruby restaurants. That too violates several policies or laws.

Snyder has agreed to retire/resign effective Feb. 20, 2015 or when he is eligible to retire through the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio with 35 years of service.

Snyder's salary is $81,733.

Lakota West's band has performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The 17-day suspension started Wednesday.

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