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Lake High School coach on leave had license suspended in 2011 for inappropriate texts to students

Josh Andrews was removed as head football coach Monday after the district said officials are investigating him for "improper communications."

MILLBURY, Ohio — The Lake High School head football coach and assistant principal placed on leave Monday night for "improper communications" was disciplined at a previous job in 2011 for sending inappropriate text messages to students.

Josh Andrews, 39, was barred from coaching while employed by Swanton Local Schools in April 2011, according to public documents found in the Ohio Department of Education's educator search database. An agreement between Andrews and the Ohio State Board of Education states "Respondent treated several students as his peers, and sent the students text messages which were too friendly and excessive in view of appropriate teacher-student boundaries and were therefore not appropriate."

On Monday night, Lake Local Schools Superintendent Jim Witt released a statement saying Andrews was relieved of his duties at the school "pending the outcome of an investigation into improper communications." Defensive coordinator David Rymers was named interim head coach.

Witt said in the statement he would not comment further on this matter.

Witt told WTOL 11 on Tuesday he was not aware of the 2011 incident involving Andrews. He again said he can't comment further on the current investigation.

On Wednesday, Witt said in an email the situation will be investigated by an outside agency, and that investigation will include speaking to past and present students. Law enforcement have been made aware of the allegations against Andrews.

Andrews held a three-year activity permit issued in 2008 allowing him to coach at the time of the 2011 incident. According to the agreement, he voluntarily resigned his coaching positions.

Andrews' permit was suspended.

"Respondent is prohibited from performing any coaching activities or other duties within the State of Ohio that require a pupil activity permit through the Ohio Department of Education for the duration of his three-year pupil activity permit issued in 2008," the agreement states. "Respondent's three-year pupil activity permit is valid until June 30, 2011."

On Wednesday, WTOL 11 obtained more documents from Swanton Local Schools related to the incident. Documents show a student reported feeling "uncomfortable" with a text conversation he had with Andrews in December 2010.

A printout of the conversation is pictured below.

Credit: WTOL 11

Andrews was required to report the suspension on all future applications to ODE for licensure.

Andrews was granted a three-year license in 2013, a five-year in 2016 and another five-year in 2021. The most recent five-year permit is still active, according to the state database.

Documents also state Andrews completed training on "appropriate teacher-student boundaries, leaving work at the workplace, and transitioning back to teaching after paid administrative leave."

Andrews was hired as the Lake High School football head coach in 2019 after serving as a varsity assistant for six years. He was initially hired at Lake in 2013.

According to a 2019 post on the official Lake Local Schools Facebook page, Andrews was a teacher and assistant coach at Swanton Schools prior to his position at Lake Local Schools.

WTOL 11 also obtained Andrews' Lake personnel file Wednesday through a public records request. Those documents show he is currently on paid leave.

A letter from Witt dated Sept. 19 informs Andrews he is barred from having any contact with current or former district employees, and is not permitted on school property for the duration of the investigation.

His assistant principal salary this year is $67,549.

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