Monday, August 24, 2009

Court of Appeals sides with teacher, against school district, in termination case

The case involved a teacher with several years of teaching experience. For a senior class project in his sociology class, the teacher required students to make a 20 year class reunion prediction regarding other students in the class. The results were to be read out loud in class, aftering being reviewed for appropriateness. However, after some students complained that some predictions were embarassing, the Board suspended the teacher.

The teacher exercised his constitutional right to a hearing under R.C. 3319.16 before a referee. After a two day hearing, the hearing officer recommended that the teacher be reprimanded, but not terminated. The School Board rejected the hearing officer's determination. The Court of Common Pleas reversed the decision of the school board and reinstated the teacher, finding that the Board's decision was not
supported by the weight of the evidence. The Court of Appeals also sided with the teacher. In making its decisions, both courts reviewed several factors, including the fact that the teacher had been described as outstanding, had done this very assignment for 12 years, and never had other incidents, and had a minor disciplinary record.