McCracken County High School students react after principal’s misconduct charge dropped

Isabella Smith

PADUCAH — Several students and parents at McCracken County High School say they are happy to hear that the misconduct charge against Principal Michael Ceglinski has been dropped.

Ceglinski is still on paid administrative leave as another charge remains: failure to report in the case involving former volunteer fishing coach John Parks.

But parents and students Local 6 talked with, including junior Isabela Smith, say they are glad to hear one of the charges is dismissed.

“I’m so happy, and I’m so excited. We all want Mr. C back,” said Smith. “We’ve all just been kind of not in the head completely, because he’s not here. He is the hands and feet of this school. He’s the reason that we operate the way that we do. He has a personal relationship with almost 2,000 students, and you’re not going to find that anywhere else.”

Fellow junior Adam Handley says he can attest to that personal relationship.

Adam Handley

“Although I’ve only know him for about six to nine months, he’s been a friend a to me. He’s helped out on occasions. He helped me with dealing with personal issue of anger towards people at my previous school. He has helped me with a problem with the lunch menu,” said Handley. “So, he’s my friend, though, and I do miss him, personally.”

In fact, Handley wrote a letter to Superintendent Brian Harper, expressing what Ceglinski means to him. It reads, in part:

“I first met Mr. C in January 2018, he gave up his day off to come give me and my parents a tour of the school… In addition, he also helped me in dealing with transition from a school of 60 students to a school of thousands…. he is very sorely missed.”

You can read the full letter below this story.

Handley said when he learned Ceglisnki was charged, he was shocked.

“It feels like whole school was being turned upside-down,” Handley told Local 6.

But Smith said learning of the news “did not change the way that I felt about him.”

Smith said she’s also collecting student signatures in support of Ceglinski’s return. She plans to send the petition to the county attorney.

As several other investigations connected to McCracken County High School continue, grandparent Karen Duffy said she hopes people will be held accountable.

“Well, hopefully everybody will get on the right page, and parents will speak up and come to more meetings, and decide what they want to do about it,” said Duffy.

Parents said there was a prayer service held in front of the high school over the weekend.

Local 6 also asked the school district about the status of Director of Pupil Personnel Brian Bowland, since his misconduct charge — his only charge — was dropped as well. McCracken County School spokeswoman Jayme Jones responded that there will be a special called board meeting on Monday. The board will meet in executive session to discuss personnel matters.

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