Howland Superintendent Explains Decision on Teacher’s Funeral

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A longtime teacher and coach at Howland High School was laid to rest on Friday.

Edward Emch of Niles, who taught social studies at the school for 15 years, died Tuesday. Normally when a teacher ties, the superintendent cancels class so that students and teachers can attend the funeral, but Superintendent John Sheets said he decided not to in this case.

That decision sparked talk on Twitter and Facebook over students protesting the district’s offices in an attempt to get the superintendent to change his mind.  But Sheets said  says there were several factors that went into his decision, including the family’s wishes.

“We wanted to be able to again look at each circumstance as they come up and we have a large high school and we are in testing and so forth, so we wanted to keep the school open and be respectful to those people that wanted to be able to go to the funeral today,” Sheets said.

The superintendent said about 20 teachers were excused to go to the funeral Friday morning.  Students who brought in a permission slip from their parents were also allowed to attend the funeral.

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