Wife of Pekin Board Member Speaks Out About Overturned Suspension

Casey Jarmes
The News-Review

PACKWOOD – Recently, conversations about Pekin’s management have focussed heavily on the school board’s October decision to overturn the suspension and Good Conduct Policy violation of the son of School Board President J.J. Geiner. Several parents and teachers have accused J.J. Greiner and the board of corruption and speculated that the incident was the catalyst for Superintendent Derek Philips’s departure. In an interview with KCCI, parent Katie Keith claimed that her daughter had been called the n-word by the Greiner boy in September; in an interview with The News-Review, she stated that the n-word had been said to, but not directed towards her daughter. Addi Greiner, the mother of the accused student and wife of J.J. Greiner, posted a lengthy Facebook post back in October about the incident. This past week, Addi reposted the Facebook story and reached out to The News-Review, in an attempt to tell her side of the story.

“We felt that we were doing the right thing by fighting, but then now we feel like only one side is being told...I’m kinda frustrated,” said Addi. “We’ve kind of been shunned. We’ve had trash thrown into our yard. We’ve had people say bad things about us and that we’re racist, which could not be further from the truth.”

In her Facebook post, Addi claimed that another student threatened to tell a teacher that her son had said the n-word unless he sat next to him at lunch. In the phone call with The News-Review, Addi claimed that the other student asked her son to say the n-word, threatening to lie to a teacher and say he did if he didn’t. In both retellings, Addi stated that her son did not say anything. Another student told a teacher that Addi’s son had said the n-word, but had not directed it at anyone. The Greiner boy was called to the office and sent back to class after he denied saying the slur. According to Addi Greiner, her son was asked by another student if he was in trouble and said “No, I’m off the hook.” He was then called into the principal’s office for bragging about not getting in trouble and received a five-day out-of-school suspension.

“As a parent, I can tell when my kid is lying and when he’s telling the truth, and when I talked to him that night, I knew he was telling the truth,” said Addi.

Addi stated J.J. Greiner drove to the school to pick up his son and meet with Principal Shawn Dorman. J.J. asked about footage of the incident and was told that there was no video or audio evidence of the lunch incident, due to there being no cameras in the commons area. Addi claimed that J.J. was told that no other students were questioned. J.J. requested the student who threatened to lie to a teacher be brought to the office, at which point the student was questioned for one minute, according to Addi.

Addi met with Dorman the next day and told him that her son was telling the truth, which Dorman did not believe. She asked for footage of the purported hallway bragging and was shown a recording. According to Addi, it was a short interaction with no audio. Addi claimed that she was fine with not contesting the five-day suspension, because her son had an opportunity to walk away and didn’t, as long as her son did not receive a Good Conduct Policy violation, which would have prevented him from playing sports for five weeks.

Three days later, Addi received an email from Philips saying that her son would receive a Good Conduct Policy violation. She immediately drove to the school to meet with the superintendent. Philips told her that Dorman should have given the Good Conduct Policy violation along with the suspension, according to the handbook. Addi stated that Dorman made a decision and Philips overrode it. Addi claimed Philips told her that he didn’t actually know the details of the situation. Addi sent a written request to appeal the Good Conduct Policy violation.

“We all have the right to defend our children, but that does not mean we should get to talk badly about other people’s children. (My son) may be the school board President’s son, but he still has the right to fair and due process, just as any other student would,” wrote Addi in her Facebook post.

J.J. sent a written notice to Philips, the board secretary and the vice president of the school board formally recusing himself from the situation. The investigation was handed off to the AEA, who handed it back to the school. Philips also recused himself from the situation. The Greiners attended a closed session board meeting. J.J. attended, despite meeting minutes saying otherwise, but acted as a parent, not a board member. According to Addi, she did all of the talking. The board overturned the suspension and Good Conduct Policy violation, according to Addi based on facts and lack of evidence. 

“Did the principal mess up? Yes. But I do not fault him for that. He was a new administrator and he was doing what he thought was right,” said Addi. “But at the same time, if the superintendent had come to him and said, ‘Hey, you know, that’s not how we do it. Next time, in the future, be aware of this as the process we follow,’ instead of four days later coming back and saying ‘Oh no, just kidding. You’re gonna get extra punishment.’ My son served the whole five days out of school, and he served half of that five-week violation. He was out of football for two and a half weeks and we missed two or three games because of it. So it’s not like he wasn’t punished.”

Addi accused other parents of “slandering her child without having all of the facts. “He’s a twelve-year-old...These people on Facebook are just kind of throwing him to the wolves,” said Addi. “It’s insane to me that anyone would treat a child this way. He’s been bullied at school because of this situation. He had another student accuse him of getting the superintendent fired. So it’s just been a mess. It’s been really stressful for our whole family.”

Addi stated that she did not think Philips’s resignation was related to the incident and that things continued normally after the October special meeting. She stated that their family had a good relationship with Philips and was friendly towards him at school events. She stated that KCCI asked for an interview, but Addi canceled when she learned they wanted to talk about the relationship between the school board and administration, which she did not have. She stated that the station did not want to hear her side of what happened between students, even though they had already reported another side of the story.




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