A Twinsburg teacher facing felony charges of sexual battery and sending obscene photos to a juvenile didn’t show up for work when classes began on Aug. 22 and was put on paid administrative leave after an Aug. 30 incident involving "erratic behavior" reported to the district by police, according to her personnel file.
Laura Bucy, of Akron, is accused of sexual battery and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, according to Stow Municipal Court records. The crimes allegedly took place between Sept. 22, 2017, and Oct. 27, 2017, according to a court record. A warrant was issued for her arrest Sept. 12 and she was not in police custody as of today (Wednesday, Sept. 19).
According to court documents, Bucy allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with an unidentified victim and sent obscene photos via Snapchat to a juvenile last year.
In a Sept. 6 letter from Superintendent Kathryn Powers to Bucy, Powers wrote that Bucy had been absent from work since Aug. 21 and that on Aug. 30, "it was brought to my attention by the Twinsburg Police Department that your erratic behavior in Twinsburg caused you to be [redacted]."
Powers wrote the letter after a meeting with Bucy, the district’s personnel director and a union representative to discuss Bucy’s request for a leave of absence and "to determine whether you need to meet with a health care professional to determine whether you are [redacted] able to perform your teaching duties."
Then, in a Sept. 7 letter to Bucy, Powers ordered her to submit to a fitness-for-duty examination.
"Please know that Administration appreciates the work that you have performed, but the incidents that we discussed require that you complete such an examination," Powers wrote. "At this time, it is unclear whether you are able to safely or competently perform the duties of your position."
In a Sept. 12 letter to Bucy, Powers wrote that Twinsburg police had informed her that day that "you are under investigation for a serious matter involving alleged misconduct on school property.
"I am sending you this letter to inform you that you are considered to be on paid administrative leave, regardless of the results of your [redacted] evaluation, pending an internal investigation into the matter ...," Powers wrote.
Twinsburg police have declined to provide any incident reports involving Bucy, including one listed in the court filing of charges against her. The Twinsburg Bulletin filed an objection regarding the department’s failure to comply with Ohio’s public records law today.
Bucy has taught at Twinsburg High School since August 2017. Prior to that, she worked for Strongsville, Akron and Ravenna schools, according to documents in her personnel file.
At the end of the last school year, Twinsburg High School Principal Louise Teringo recommended Bucy for a second, one-year contract for the 2018-19 school year.
"Ms. Bucy has demonstrated that she has earned this new contract through her satisfactory performance as a Foods instructor at Twinsburg High School," Teringo wrote.
In a rating of teacher effectiveness during the 2017-18 school year, Teringo gave Bucy a cumulative performance rating of "skilled" and a "most effective" rating for student growth.
Bucy holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron and worked as a student teacher for three months in the Akron Public Schools during the 2011-12 school year and for a month in the Springfield School District in October 2012. She was a substitute teacher in the Cuyahoga Falls School District from February to May 2013.
She then held positions as a family and consumer science teacher at Ravenna High School from May 2013 to June 2015, for the Akron Public Schools at the sixth- and seventh-grade level during the 2015-16 school year and during part of the 2015-16 school year for the Strongsville City School District.
In employment references Twinsburg schools requested before Bucy was hired, principals in Strongsville and Ravenna and another teacher at Ravenna High School consistently rated Bucy as outstanding or excellent in a number of categories, such as professional competence, ability to get along with people, and student management skills.
Records requested from the Ravenna and Strongsville schools have not yet been released.
Reporter Jeff Saunders contributed to this article.
Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433, or firstname.lastname@example.org.