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Oxford Hills Superintendent placed on paid leave pending investigation

Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:55 AM EST
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PARIS, Maine (WMTW) - Oxford Hills Superintendent Dr. Monica Henson has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the district board of directors into a September incident, the board announced Wednesday.

The alleged incident happened Sept. 9 at Agnes Grey Elementary School, where Henson was filling in as principal for the day. She is alleged to have attempted to pull the student by both arms into her office after an incident in the school cafeteria. Dr. Henson has denied any improper conduct.

The board met for over three hours Wednesday to come to the decision. It released a statement following the meeting.

“Over the last few weeks, we have heard the many voices, the many different perspectives about issues concerning Superintendent Henson’s leadership of our school administrative district,” the statement read. “We continue to receive texts, emails, and calls, and we are sorting through all the varied communications. This effort requires time to conduct a proper and complete investigation, a thorough consideration of the issues presented, consultation with our legal advisers, and careful deliberation of all that we have learned. We ask for your understanding as we gather and evaluate all the relevant information.

“As the school board, we are accountable to you and committed to resolving the matters before us with integrity. In fairness to all parties involved, including Dr. Henson, she will be on paid administrative leave while the board works to a resolution.

“Please know that we take very seriously our responsibility to place the best interest of our students at the center of this process. We promise this mission is first and foremost in our minds.

The Oxford Hills Education Association hailed the decision in a statement to WMTW News 8.

“We believe the board made the correct decision this evening to put the superintendent on paid leave,” the OHEA executive team wrote. “Everyone in our community, but most importantly our kids, need to know that schools are safe places. Everyone in our schools, including students and staff, deserve to be treated with care and respect.”

School board chair Natalie Andrews told WMTW News 8 after the board meeting Monday that the board would defer to the DHHS when it came to investigating Dr. Henson. The DHHS and Oxford County Sheriff’s Office began their investigations yesterday.

“We’re always looking at all the information that comes into us,” said board vice chair Jared Cash on why the board has now decided to take up their own investigation. “And that’s what we do. We gave you our best response that day, and this is the action that the board has processed and decided to put together the statement you’ve seen. So we’re a board of 22 people and we had an opportunity to work through everything that you see included in our statement. And that stands as our statement for tonight.”

There is no word yet on the timetable of the investigation, or who will serve as superintendent in Dr. Henson’s absence.

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