Former Austintown Middle School principal returning to district after investigation

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Austintown Middle School’s former principal will return to the school district this fall after an internal investigation.

A district spokeswoman said the investigation began after reports that Jim Penk stored “a large knife” in his office and handled it “in a manner against school policy during interactions with subordinates.”

Penk was also accused of failing to properly address or report employee behavior that would violate board policy and/or Ohio law regarding the use of sick leave, and failing to properly address or report an employee complaint involving harassment or discrimination.

Penk was placed on a paid administrative leave in March during the investigation.

After reaching an agreement with the Board of Education, Penk will serve as assistant principal at Fitch High School. During this time, he will be under supervision while “engaging in ongoing professional development in staff management and leadership.”

“We are happy to have this matter resolved and welcome Mr. Penk back to the district. We look forward to working with him as he continues to advance as an administrative leader,” said Superintendent Vincent Colaluca.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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