Parents, teachers protest controversial demotion of Hazelwood Ce - KMOV.com

Parents, teachers protest controversial demotion of Hazelwood Central Athletic Director

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Many teachers and parents are upset over the demotion of Hazelwood Central Athletic Director  John Pukala. Credit: KMOV Many teachers and parents are upset over the demotion of Hazelwood Central Athletic Director John Pukala. Credit: KMOV
NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) -

Many parents and teachers in the Hazelwood School District are showing their support for a coach and athletic director who was recently demoted.

Lots of people turned out to the Hazelwood School Board meeting Tuesday to support John Pukala, who has worked at Hazelwood Central High School for 28 years, eventually becoming athletic director. He has also served as football coach.  Last week, Pukala’s attorney and a school board member say he was told he was being demoted to teacher, which would result in a salary reduction of almost $40,000.

Newly sworn-in school board member Mark Behlmann said the demotion stems from an incident last fall, when Pukala claims he witnessed a fellow employee stealing. Pukala claims he reported it.

No charges were filed. St. Louis County Police said they investigated the incident, it was their understanding that it was handled internally by the Hazelwood School District.

Pukala has not accepted his new contract and has indicated he will take legal action if necessary.

The Hazelwood School District would not respond to multiple requests for information on the case.

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