When Henderson County school board member Michael Absher was charged in May with a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, he agreed to take a voluntary leave of absence from the board.

Absher, 27, is founder of Only Hope WNC, a nonprofit that runs a home for homeless youths. He serves as president and CEO of the organization, which opened its group home in April 2016.

A graduate of East Henderson High School, Absher exhibited a determination to serve, running three times for the school board before winning in his fourth try with 23,792 votes. Many voters no doubt chose him because of his devotion to helping homeless students.

So it was somewhat shocking when the Sheriff’s Office charged Absher after finding probable cause that he “caused, encouraged and aided” a 15-year-old resident of his group home to drink alcohol on Nov. 1. The board of directors of Only Hope WNC issued a statement saying that the youth who made the charges did so after being asked to leave the group home on April 1.

“In our internal investigation, we have found no evidence to support the claim made by this student,” the statement said, adding that board members “are confident (Absher) will be cleared of the charge against him, and that these allegations are false.”

The concept that a person is innocent until proven guilty is foundational to our judicial system. So it seemed Absher’s decision to take a leave of absence would suffice until a court could determine whether or not he was guilty of the misdemeanor charge. But his problems did not end there.

On June 6, the Sheriff’s Office charged him with another misdemeanor, communicating threats, after an altercation with a teaching assistant at East Henderson High with whom he had had a running dispute. Absher responded by filing for a no-contact order (which was denied) against the staff member.

Next, the school board learned Absher had been fired from a part-time job as a school bus driver in Buncombe County in May. Reasons for his termination included unsafe school bus movement, using a cellphone while operating a bus and communicating with students using inappropriate language. Absher also drove a bus for East Henderson from August to December of last year.

School board members held a special meeting Monday to ask Absher to resign, saying they did so because he had admitted to the reasons for his dismissal in Buncombe County and in threatening a school employee. Absher refused. School board member Rick Wood abstained, saying the decision should be Absher’s after the court cases are resolved.

Elected officials are human beings with problems and faults. It is hard today, given the temperament, words and actions of our president, to hold elected leaders to a higher standard. Absher’s actions have put the school board in a bind, but they cannot force him to resign. However, it’s questionable whether this once promising young leader can serve effectively given all that has happened since he was elected.