Teachers get suspensions over test irregularities

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 11, 2004

A due-process hearing for two Lawrence County teachers accusedof state testing irregularities concluded Wednesday night with theinstructors receiving one-year suspensions.

School board members voted 4-1 that the teachers, who taughtseventh grade math at Rod Paige Middle School, did violate testsecurity measures, said Lawrence County Superintendent RussellCaudill. However, the board voted 4-1 against upholding Caudill’srecommendation that the teachers be fired from the district.

“Instead, they voted to suspend the teachers for one yearwithout pay,” he said.

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Caudill said he felt the teachers should have been fired fortheir actions, but was willing to compromise.

“I support the board’s decision, even though they didn’t followmy recommendation to terminate the teachers,” he said.

The teachers can return to teach in the district next year withno further consequences, Caudill said, but he was adamant that theywould be teaching on a different campus.

“It will not be Rod Paige, that’s for sure,” he said.

The superintendent said Friday that he was unaware of theirintentions and did not know whether they planned to return to teachnext year. He added, however, that choosing a due-processproceeding to hear the case would appear to be a good indication oftheir desire to return.

“I haven’t really heard from them or spoken to them since theprocess started, so I can’t really say what their intentions are,”he said.

Wednesday night’s decision came quickly, with board membersdeliberating for about a half hour before announcing theirdecision, Caudill said.

Board members had met previously Monday to conclude the hearing,but were unable to reach an agreement after several hours ofdeliberation. They adjourned late in the evening to begindeliberations again on Wednesday, he said.

The superintendent said he was ready to put the incident behindthem and concentrate on educational matters.

“I am certainly glad this is over with,” he said. “It has beentough on the board, me and the administrators. Now we can fullyfocus on making Lawrence County the best school districtpossible.”

The district addressed apparent test security shortcomings whenthe incident was first brought to their attention in May.