Canton Local School Board Member Facing New Theft Charges
Scott Hamilton

A Canton Local school board member is facing new theft charges based on claims that he was stealing signs that were calling for his resignation. Already convicted of misdemeanor theft earlier in the year, Scott Hamilton is now looking at additional charges and has made no indication he would be stepping down.

The person behind the charges filed in Canton Municipal Court is fellow Canton Local school board member, Chris Cole. Cole and Hamilton have an extensive history, most notably for the drama created when Hamilton decided to not renew a contract for Cole’s wife, who was a volleyball coach in the district. Cole placed the signs in questions and leads the charge in pressuring Hamilton to leave his position.

Previous conviction

Hamilton’s previous theft conviction made headlines, as he stole 166 bales of pine shavings from Tractor Supply Company in Massillon. Hamilton plead no contest while still proclaiming his innocence and the charges were reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Having had his chance to prove his innocence in court, Hamilton faced calls from the public for his resignation, which he has refused to give. Quoted from Facebook, Cole said:

“I have been mostly silent on social media about the theft charges pressed by Tractor Supply Co. against Mr. Hamilton. I graciously allowed Mr. Hamilton to have his day in court. Today was that day. Contrary to what Mr. Hamilton’s attorney said would occur, Mr. Hamilton was unable to explain how this theft was a misunderstanding. Mr. Hamilton has been found guilty of a first degree misdemeanor. This is behavior that is unbecoming of a school board member and I am now publicly calling for Mr. Hamilton to do the honorable thing and RESIGN his position on the Canton Local Board of Education. I would encourage my colleagues on the board of education to also demand his resignation.

Calls for resignation

Since the time of the conviction, Cole has been actively and publicly pressuring Hamilton to resign, which lead to the creation of yard signs that stated “Demand Scott Hamilton’s resignation. Restore integrity to our schools”. The Canton Local School board has previously asked Hamilton to resign and considering the new charges, it won’t be surprising to see them make the same suggestion in a louder voice.

New charges

According to Major C.J. Stantz, on Friday, October 21st, a complaint was made with Canton Police and  “He just got summoned into court. It looks like we took the complaint and did an investigation.” The sign thefts occurred in Canton Township and Canton. Jason Reese, Canton law department lead prosecutor said Hamilton’s previous charges”…could impact sentencing. As a result of the past conviction, the penalty could be different.”

Hamilton has made no public statement and has deferred all questions to his attorney. Canton Local’s next school board meeting is Monday, November 8th at 7:00 at Canton South High School.