Petition against school board president heads to court

Local News

A Cambria County judge will decide whether there are legal grounds to remove a Greater Johnstown School District official from office, over controversial comments made on social media.

A hearing was held Tuesday, regarding a petition for a judge to dismiss School Board President Cyndi Ahlborn from office.

The controversy started back in September after Ahlborn posted a comment on Facebook, which some people said made light of suicide.

Ahlborn has since issued an apology.

However, 12 parents and Johnstown residents filed a formal petition in October for a judge to remove Ahlborn.

In court, the judge asked why this case should be decided by a judge and not in the next election and whether this comment was an isolated incident.

The school district’s solicitor, John Kuzmiak, said although he thinks it was “inappropriate to make these statements,” Ahlborn is still fulfilling her duties.

He cited a case out of Kline Township, where the state Supreme Court reinstated a school official who stole money, because he was not violating school code.

Two of the men who filed the petition said there is language in the state’s school code about supporting the “mental and emotional needs” of students. They said that Ahlborn’s comment violates that code.

“The school district has been plagued with bullying and suicide issues for years and nothing has changed. A student committed suicide years ago. Other students have attempted to commit suicide. They’re not getting it, they just don’t care,” said John Debartola, one of the Johnstown residents who filed the petition.

The judge will make a decision sometime in the next couple of weeks either to dismiss the case or allow it to move to trial.

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