North High band director loses job

October 06, 2009|By DAN DEARTH


The story below incorrectly described Sharon Kronawetter's role with the North Hagerstown High School Band Boosters. She is a co-president of that organization.

In addition, Kronawetter, in an e-mail, said her comment about what should have been done with what authorities called "a phony destructive device" found at the school was inaccurate. Kronawetter wrote that she said, "It was a leftover prop that should have not have been left behind."

The Herald-Mail apologizes for the mistakes.

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Public Schools has severed ties with North Hagerstown High School band director Jeremy R. Karacz.

During its Tuesday meeting, the Washington County Board of Education officially agreed to separate Karacz from service.

Donna Newcomer, executive director of human resources for Washington County Public Schools, said she couldn't disclose whether Karacz was fired or chose to resign because the matter was a personnel issue.

Karacz could not be reached for comment.


Sharon Kronawetter, president of the North Hagerstown High School Band Boosters, said Tuesday evening that Karacz hasn't worked as band director since the first day of school Aug. 19, when a suspicious item was found in a locker that prompted officials to briefly shut down the school.

The Hagerstown Police Department referred to the item as a "phony destructive device" that included road flares, according to a press release issued by the school system Aug. 21.

"The investigation also revealed that the found device was part of an inappropriate prank at the school," the release said.

Neither school officials nor police would elaborate.

Kronawetter said the item was a prop that a student placed on Karacz' vehicle during a band picnic in mid-August. She said she didn't know why the item was put in a locker instead of thrown away.

"It was not an explosive device like everyone is saying," said Kronawetter, adding she was not speaking on behalf of the band boosters. "It was harmless."

Kronawetter said the band boosters haven't been given the reason for Karacz' separation from service.

"He was a remarkable person," Kronawetter said. "He was there 24-7 for all the kids ... They really miss Mr. K. They're really sad."

Andrew Doub, a 14-year-old tuba player, said band members were summoned to the band room Tuesday afternoon by North Hagerstown High School Principal Valerie Novak and told that Karacz had resigned.

"They were very upset about it," Andrew said when asked how the students reacted. "They were broken up."

Andrew said Karacz had an excellent relationship with the band students.

"He was really good with all the kids," Andrew said. "If you had a problem, you could go to him and have it fixed."

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