By Jaime Thomas
The Granville Board of Education has decided not to immediately discipline its athletic director Stephen Palmer, who faces assault charges following an altercation at The Forum nightclub on Saturday, Sept. 29.
Superintendent Mark Bessen explained that Palmer’s issue is in the court of law at this time and pointed out that in the United States, a person is innocent until proven guilty.
“It would be punishing someone before you know what the true facts are and what the disposition of the community is,” Bessen said.
The board passed a motion on Wednesday, Oct. 3, to appoint Dan Poucher, the assistant principal, as co-athletic director. Palmer was charged Saturday with third-degree assault after police responded to a report of a fight between Palmer and Granville resident Jeffrey Dunster.
Dunster was charged with second-degree harassment because he did not leave the premises when asked to, after the altercation.
Bessen said Poucher is an experienced administrator who will be mentoring Palmer in his new role. Palmer, in turn, will be showing Poucher how things work in the athletic department in terms of things like scheduling. High school principal James Donnelly said Poucher sees this as an opportunity to serve and will not be paid extra.
“His response is he’s up for anything he can do to help in this time of transition,” Donnelly said.
Both Bessen and Donnelly said it can only be a good thing to have the two men sharing the responsibilities of the program. Bessen also said this way, if Palmer were to be called away from his position, for example for military duty, Poucher would be able to fill his spot.
“That’s what we’re here for — to do what’s best for the kids,” Donnelly said.
Poucher will fulfill the responsibilities of co-athletic director until after Palmer’s court date, which is scheduled for Oct. 23.