The Shenandoah County School Board on Thursday approved various personnel actions that included putting a principal on leave without pay.

Superintendent Mark Johnston confirmed after the meeting that the status of Stephen Povlish III is now on leave without pay.

“The state code provides for leave without pay for a criminal charge pending against a school employee, and so we are in compliance with state code,” Johnston said.

School Board members Cynthia D. Walsh and Richard L. Koontz Jr. voted against the personnel changes. Karen S. Whetzel, Michelle Manning, Shelby J. Kline and Sonya Williams-Giersch voted for the changes.

In October, Povlish was placed on leave with pay as after state police charged him and school resource officer Tabatha Raye Baker-Whitacre with a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery stemming from alleged incidents that transpired in August, according to a prepared statement from the state police.

Both had their first court hearings in November and are scheduled for their next court appearances on Jan. 31.

Baker was terminated as a Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office deputy and as the school resource officer when the allegations surfaced for violations of Sheriff’s Office departmental policy.

Sheriff Timothy C. Carter was contacted Aug. 17 by a school official who alleged Baker had struck a 5-year-old child on the face. During the investigation, it was found that Baker had allegedly struck the child two more times, for a total of three incidents from Aug. 16-17, said Capt. Wesley Dellinger of the Sheriff’s Office.

Carter was also told of an allegation that Povlish had also struck the same child once at a different time.

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