The Georgia Professional Standards Commission has remanded back to the Muscogee County School District the complaint a parent filed against the teacher who used the N-word while trying to teach three fourth-grade girls to not use racial slurs.
Tanis Miller, the commission’s legal officer, explained in an email Tuesday to the Ledger-Enquirer that the commission has three options to determine what to do with a complaint against a certified educator: No probable cause to investigate; remand the complaint for the school district to investigate; or open its own investigation.
So the commission chose the middle ground in this case.
Nathan Frazier, the father of one of the three fourth-grade girls involved in the Sept. 1 conversation with the teacher at Reese Road Leadership Academy, is the parent who filed the complaint, according to the Oct. 13 letter from Kelly Henson, the commission’s executive secretary, to MCSD superintendent David Lewis. Henson informed Lewis that the complaint alleges the teacher breached the professional conduct standard in the code of ethics.
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“Please investigate to determine if the Code of Ethics has been violated,” Henson wrote to Lewis. “After completing your investigation, please submit a complaint or a letter stating that you have thoroughly investigated the incident and do not believe a standard has been violated.”
According to the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators, the commission is “authorized to suspend, revoke, or deny certificates, to issue a reprimand or warning, or to monitor the educator’s conduct and performance after an investigation is held and notice and opportunity for a hearing are provided to the certificate holder.”
The Ledger-Enquirer has sought reaction from the lawyers representing the teacher and the Frazier. Their responses weren’t received by deadline.
After 11 of the 13 residents who spoke during the public agenda at last week’s Muscogee County School Board work session called for the teacher who used the N-word to be fired, board members at Monday night’s meeting continued their discussion of a proposal to establish a “zero tolerance” policy against racial slurs. They modified the proposal to require the school district to review such an allegation for termination.
District 2 representative John Thomas made the proposal in the wake of MCSD announcing Sept. 29 that the Reese Road teacher who admitted to using the N-word had been suspended for two days without pay, reassigned to an undisclosed non-classroom position, issued a letter of reprimand that was placed in her personnel file, and required her to attend “cultural competency” training.
Despite the Ledger-Enquirer’s request, the MCSD administration didn’t disclose the position and salary to which the teacher was reassigned until after Frank Myers, the school board’s District 8 representative, threatened to make a motion to fire any official who blocked that information, among other requests, from being disclosed. The 16-year educator is now an “assessment facilitator” in the Programs for Exceptional Students, which is MCSD’s special-education department, Lewis told the L-E in an Oct. 13 email. The person in this position reports to the department’s executive director, which is being filled on an interim basis by retired Reese Road principal Jeanella Pendleton.
Lewis told the L-E in his email, “The teacher meets all specified requirements for the position, one of which is teacher certification, and therefore she is paid on the Georgia Teacher Salary Schedule. Her current compensation is the same as it was at the beginning of this contract year, which is $52,326.”