(10/19/2007)
The principal of Wirt Middle School, James D. Hoover, 36, has been charged with two counts of unlawfully and feloniously possessing deadly weapons on school property.

He has been released on $2,000 bond.

Wirt Superintendent of Schools Daniel Metz has denied to comment on the matter, including whether Hoover has been suspended from his position or put on leave, saying he cannot discuss such matters, describing it as a "personnel matter."

Responding to a Herald Freedom of Information Act request regarding Hoover's current status, superintendent Metz denied the request, saying "The reason for the denial is that the information you request is of a personal nature such as kept in a personnel, medical, or similar file and the public disclosure thereof would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy."

The Herald requested the information in what appears to be a reasonable expectation by parents and the public regarding whether or not Mr. Hoover is still on-the-job, suspended, or placed on leave until the courts can determine whether or not he committed a crime.

Hoover was a former guidance counselor with Calhoun Schools.

"In view of the fact that Mr. Hoover has been arrested by law enforcement who will necessarily handle any investigation, and given that any changes will be disposed of by the court, it is not apparent that the public interest by clear and convincing evidence requires disclosure by the Board of Education in this instance," said Metz.

The denial, says Metz, is based on WV Code, and further answers requires "injunctive or declaratory relief in the Circuit Court of Wirt County."

Authorities will not comment whether Hoover's charges are linked to a hunting accident, a shooting in the head of an 18-year-old Mineral Wells youth identified as Chris Griffin. (Read earlier Hur Herald reports)


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