- Associated Press - Saturday, January 30, 2016

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) - The Mercer County Board of Education has voted to place a JROTC instructor on unpaid suspension for the remainder of the school year.

The board met Friday in a special session to discuss disciplinary action concerning Major Robert Grace of the Princeton Senior High School Junior ROTC program. In December, the board suspended Grace and ordered him to stay away from the school and the students.

Grace will be on unpaid suspension for the rest of the school year. He will be placed on a corrective action plan when he returns to work, and will be required to undergo a conflict resolution process between Grace and another instructor.

A board memo says Grace had violated policies by holding hands with students. He also allegedly texted at least one student, telling her he loved her and calling her names like “baby” and “beautiful princess.” The memo further says Grace had provided homebound services without being authorized to do so.

Grace’s attorney, R. Thomas Czarnik, said the board’s ruling was based on “improper procedure.”

“The innuendoes and the implications of this case have been outrageous, and we’re going to discuss appealing it as well as further action,” Czarnik was quoted as saying.

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