Kentucky

Nicholas principal's file has prior complaints

CARLISLE — The Central Kentucky principal who was suspended earlier this month after an altercation with a high school student has had at least six grievances — two of them from employees who said he threatened them — filed against him by school employees and parents.

The records, obtained from Nicholas County schools through an open records request, also show that Nicholas County High School principal Joseph Orazen was suspended in November 2007 for "refusal to recognize and obey the authority of the superintendent," according to the documents. Orazen, 35, began working for the district in July 2006.

Orazen, who previously taught at Lexington's Henry Clay High School and had been assistant football coach there, was charged Feb. 18 with fourth-degree assault, a Class A misdemeanor, after an altercation with student Dusty Green, 15, on Feb. 10 outside the school. Orazen is scheduled to appear in court March 4.

Orazen did not respond to a message left at his home Tuesday to comment on this story.

Orazen has previously said "It's not what it looks like" and that at some point everyone will know what really happened.

The school district withheld documents regarding Dusty Green because the case is under investigation.

According to Orazen's personnel file, two grievances were filed in October by employees who said Orazen threatened them when he questioned them about one of their relatives who had requested a copy of Orazen's personnel file.

The complaint says Orazen told the employee that he "may want to find out" what the relative wanted with the files. The employee wrote: "I felt as if I was being threatened because of the potential outcome if I did not find out why."

In the other letter, the employee told the superintendent that Orazen was "shaking and trembling and his eyes were shooting daggers" when he walked into her office to ask about the open records request.

Nicholas County schools Superintendent Gregory Reid told Orazen in a letter dated Oct. 30 that he had misused his position as principal and further actions of that nature would result in disciplinary action, which could include immediate termination.

The records obtained by the Herald-Leader did not show any other disciplinary action taken against Orazen following reviews of the grievances.

In November 2007, Reid suspended Orazen for four days without pay because he refused to come to his office for a meeting, according to documents.

In a letter to Orazen dated Nov. 15, 2007, Reid said he asked Orazen to come to his office during two phone conversations, and the principal refused. Reid then sent someone to personally request that Orazen visit the superintendent's office, and Orazen still refused.

"I consider this to be a serious lack of judgment on your behalf," Reid wrote. "My request for your presence in my office was a lawful and reasonable directive, and I cannot tolerate your refusal to obey such directive."

Reid did not state the purpose of the meeting in the letter.

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