Friday, June 07, 2013

Full text of Joplin School Board's decision to end my teaching career

(I will have some commentary on this later, but this is the decision that was handed down against me by the Joplin R-8 Board of Education. The transfer of the document from PDF to Microsoft Word created some mistakes and I tried to correct as many of them as I could, but I am sure there are still a few.)


BEFORE THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF JOPLIN SCHOOLS, JOPLIN, MISSOURI


 JOPLIN SCHOOLS,

v.

WILLIAM TURNER,

Petitioner, )

Respondent. )



FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND DECISION

On May 23, 2013, the Joplin Schools Board of Education ("Board") convened a hearing, pursuant to Sections 168.1 16 and 168.118 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, on charges brought against Mr. William "Randy" Tuntcr, a tenured teacher, by Superintendent Dr. C.J. Huff. Mr. Turner was present at the hearing and was represented by legal counsel Ms. Nancy Watkins, at all times. During the hearing, the administration was represented by legal counsel , Ms. Shellie Guin. A court reporter was present and recorded the testimony of the witnesses. After carefully considering the evidence presented, the Board of Education makes the following findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decision. To the extent the following findings.

Fact are actually conclusions of law, the Board incorporates such findings in its Conclusions of Law. To the extent the following Conclusions of Law are actually findings of fact, the Board incorporates such conclusions into its Findings of Fact.

EVIDENTIARY RULINGS

1. In a teacher termination proceeding, the determination of the credibility of witnesses is a function of the Board of Education. Ross v. Nohb, 662 S.W.2d 257 (Mo. 1983).

2. To the extent the testimony of witnesses of the administration conflicted with the testimony of Mr. Turner and his witnesses, the Board of Education finds the testimony of the witnesses of the administration to be more credible.

3. The Board's rulings with regard to objections made to witness testimony throughout the hearing should be construed to he consistent with the Board's findings, conclusions and decision set forth herein. Any objections that are not consistent with the Board's Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law und Decision are hereby overruled.

4. The following exhibits were admitted into evidence at the hearing without objection: Exhibits 1- 40 and Exhibits A - I.

5 . The following schedule identifies exhibits that were objected to by one of the parties and the Board's ruling as to such exhibits: NONE

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Mr. William "Randy" Tuner ("Mr. Turner") is employed  as a school teacher at Joplin Schools in Joplin, Missouri ("District").

2. Mr. Turner is certified by the State of Missouri  and is a tenured teacher in  the
District.  Mr. Turner teachcs middle school communication arts, meaning that the majority of his students are eleven, twelve, thirteen or fourteen years old.

3. On May 7, 2012, Mr. Turner signed a contract for employment with the District that contained  language stating:

The teacher is subject to and agree with all provisions, duties and requirements applicable to his or her position, as directed by the administration, and as stated in any written performance standards or criteria, policies, procedures or rules of the District, whether adopted or modified before or after the effective date of this contract.  The Teacher acknowledges that he or she has access to
complete  copies  of  all  such  perfornance  standards  or  criteria, polices, procedures and rules. The Teacher further  acknowledges the importance of maintaining, during the term of this Agreement an updated knowledge of such standards, criteria  policies, rules and regulations. The teacher also agrees to comply with all federal state and local laws.

(Exhibit 10.)

4. On or about August 13, 2012,  Mr. Turner signed a document entitled Joplin Schools Acknowledgcment of Trainings for the 2012-2013 School Year ("Policy Acknowledgement") . The Policy Acknowledgement states that the employee is aware that all Board policies arc located on the District website and that the employee will become familiar with all Board policies.  (Exhibit 6.)

5. On March 6, 2012) Mr. Turner received a copy of a policy update for Board Policy GBH, which he read on March 7, 2012.  (Exhibit 7.)

6. On April 18, 2012, Mr. Turner received administrative clarification regarding Board Policy GBH along with link to the complete policy.  (Exhibit 8.)

7. On November 5, 2012, Mr. Turner acknowledged that he read and understood the District's Social Media Responsible User Requirements.  (Exhibit 9.)
8. Ori December  16, 2012, Mr. Turner posted a link to a free download  of his book entitled No Child Left Alive on a blog called Room 210 Discussion. (Exhibit 4.) The Room 210 Discussion blog was not password protected, was available to the general public, and was accessible by his middle school students.  (Tr. p. 308 and 309.)

9. Embedded in the post was a live hyperlink such that when the user clicks on the title No Child Left Alive, he or she is redirected to  amazon.corn, where the user can then download an electronic version of the book.  (Exhibit 4; Tr. p. ?i 7 and 38.)


10. The book No Child Left Alive contains graphic depictions of sexuality, rape, infidelity, profanity, domestic violence and school violence. (Exhibit 28.) No Child Left Alive is not appropriate material for middle schoolers.  (Tr. 194.)

11. The first paragraph on the blog's homepage reads:

This blog is designed to provide students and former students from  Mr. Randy Turner's communication arts class at East Middle School 1n Joplin, Mo., an opportunity to discuss issue that affect teens and  society as  a whole.

(Exhibit 4.)

12. The last sentence to the blog post about No Child Left Alive reads: "Please feel free to download the book today or tomorrow and let's start a discussion." (Exhibit 4.)

13. Mr. Turner also posted a link to a free download of No Child Left Alive on another blog called Room 210 for Teachers on December 16, 2012. (Exhibit 5.)  Both  Room  210 Discussion and Room  210 for Teachers are included  as direct links on another blog maintained by Mr. Turner called East Middle School Roundabout, a blog routinely accessed and utilized by middle  school students.   (Exhibit  34; Tr. 204 206.)

14. From December 16 through April 6, 2013, Mr. Turner made No Child Left Alive available to his Twitter followers on at least seven (7) occasions, most of  the  time for  free, through various tweets he posted himself. (Exhibits 35 und 36.) Mr. Turner has current students who follow him on Twitter.  (Tr. 213 und 214.)

15. From Decembcr 5 through December 22, 2012, Mr. Turner made No Child Left Alive available to his Faccbook frientlds on at least ten (10) occasions, many times for free, through various links he posted himself. (Exhibit 39.) At the time of the hearing, Mr. Turner had at least 182 Faccbook friends who are current students.  (Tr_ 311.)

16. By posting No Child Left Alive on the Room 210 Discussion blog, Twitter, and Faccbook and offering it to students for free, Mr. Turner made it readily available to students and did nothing to discourage his students to read No Child Left Alive.

17. Board Policy AC - Prohibition Against Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation, which prohibits sexual harassment, states that sexual harassment may include communications of a stlxual nature or based on sex; comments about an individual's body, sexual activity or sexual attractiveness; gender-based harassment and acts of verbal, nonverbal, written, graphic or physical conduct based on sex or sex stereotyping, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature.  (Exhibit 12.)

18. Policy AC Curther states that "the district presumes a student cannot  consent to behavior of a sexual nature with an adult regardless of the circumstances ."  (Exhibit  12.)

19. According to Mr. Turner, No Child Left Alive contains communications of  a sexual nature and specifically includes sexual content.  (Tr. 193.)

20. Board Policy GBH - Staff/Student Relations provides that staff members are expected to maintain courteous and profossional relationships with students, and staff members have the responsibility to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning  through, in part, the maintenance of physical and emotional boundaries wilh students. The policy further states that maintaining such boundaries is an essential requirement for employment in the district. TilC policy also states that communicating with students about sexual topics verbally or by any form of written, pictorial or electronic communication constitutes a failure to maintain appropriate boundaries.


21. Board Policy GRH also requires staff to maintain professional boundarics with students while using electronic communication.

22_ By making No Child Left Alive available to students for free  on  multiple occasions, Mr. Turner communicatcd with students about sexual topics. Jn addition, Mr. Turner utilized electronic communication in doing so through his various biogs, his Twitter account) and his Facebook account.  (Exhibits 4, 34) 35, 36 and 39.)

23. Board  Policy  EHB  -  Technology  Usage  states  in  part  that   employees  are personally responsible for the content they publish on blogs and  that the use of technology resources in a disruptive, inappropriate or illegal manner impairs the district's mission, squanders resources and shall not be tolerated. It further states that employees may be disciplined or terminated for violating the district's technology policies and procedures.  (Exhibit 14.)

24. Mr. Turner personally posted a link to a free download of No Child Left Alive on Room 210 Discussion, Room 210 for Teachers and multiple times through Twitter and Facebook postings.

25. Board Policy GBCB - Statl Conduct states that employees must  become familiar with, enforce and follow all Board policies, regulations, administrative procedures, other directions given by district administrators and state and federal laws as they affect the performance of job duties_ Board Policy GBCB also requires employees to refrain from using profanity and to maintain courteous and professional relationships with students.  (Exhibit 16.)

26. According to Mr. Turner,er, No Child left Alive contains profanity. (Tr. l 93.) In addition, by making No Child Left Alive available to students for free on multiple occasions, Mr. Tumer did not maintain courteous and professional relationships with students.

27. Board Policy GRDA - Distribution of Noncurricular Student Publications states in part that anyone wishing to distribute unofficial material must first submit for approval of a copy of the material to the principal or designcc 24 hours in advance of desired distribution time . (Exhibit 18.)

28. Mr. Turner did not obtain authorization from his principal or any administrator prior to making either No Child Lefet Alive available to students.

29. Board Policy HA - Instructional Materials state:; in pertinent part that staff are responsible for selecting instructional materials of the highest quality that will support the educational curriculum and goals of the district. (Exhibit 20.)

30. No Child  Left Alive does not constitute instructional materials of the highest quality and docs not support the educational curriculum and goals of the district.

31. On or around March 5, 2013, Mr. Turner published a book entitled Scars from the Tornado, which he also authored.

32. Scars from the Tornado contains student  information,  pictures  of  students, and

works written by students.  This information constitutes district property and confidential student information.

33. Mr. Turner published Scars from  the Tornado under his name as a personal

project and sold the book through various commercial retailers nationwide, including on-line.

34. Mr. Turner did not seek to obtain permission from  the  district  to  use  student works and information  to publish a personal book.

35.    Mr. Turner did not obtain permission from parents to publish their child's works in Scars from the Tornado.

36. Mr. Turner obtained signed permission slips from approximately half of  the parents whose children had works published in Scars .fom the Tornado. That permission slip reads in part:
We would  like to include work  written by your  child  in an  upcoming book, Eagle Pride, being written about the Joplin Tornado and our 2011- 2012 school year.

(Exhibits 24 and 27.)

37. Nowhere in the permission slip does it rcfer to Scars.from the Tornado. Nowhere in the permission slip docs it indicate that Mr . Turner was personally publishing a book.

38. Mr. Turner produced no permission slips for any book for approximately half of the students whose work was published in Scars from the Tornado. (Exhibit 27.)

39. Scars.from the Tornado is for sale to the general public on amazon.com for $3.99 and is also available at some retail locations. Mr. Turner announced on his biogs where copies of Scars from the Tornado could be purchased. (Exhibit 4, 5, and 30.)

40. Nowhere in the permission slips and nowhere in the promotional and marketing materials for the book does it indicate that Mr. Turner intended to donate part or all of the proceeds from the book to charity.  (Exhibit 30 and 34.)

41. Based on the evidence, the book was promoted for personal gain, both financial and otherwise,  by Mr. Turner.  Mr. Turner  frequently posted  Scars from  the Tornado  for sale on his various blogs and through Twitter  and Facebook.  His marketing  efforts typically included  a link to where an individual  could  purchase the book  for a price from  amazon.com.  (Exhibit 30 and  34.)

42. Mr. Turner specifically marketed Scars from the Torando to parents and students of the district and used his position as teacher to influence their purchase of the hook. (Exhibits 30, 34 and 36.)

43. District administration  was unaware lhat Mr. Turner was publishing Scars from the Tornado until he publicly announced at a faculty meeting in February 2013 at the time the book was completed.

44. Such conduct on the part of Mr. Turner raises a reasonable question of conflict of interest with his duties and responsibilities as a teacher in the district.

45. Board Policy GBCA - Staff Conflict of Interest states that employees will not trademark, patent, copyright or claim ownership interest in any publications or· other intellectual property created by thc employee in their capacity as an employee of the district, unless authorized by the Board of Education. Further, employees will not use district property, including the district's Intellectual property, or confidential information obtained in their capacity as employees of the district to financially benefit themselves or any other person or business unless authorized by the Board or Education. (Exhibit I 5.)

46. The Board of Education did not authorize Mr. Turner to copyright Scars from the Tornado and did not authorize the use of district property or confidential student information by Mr. Turner.

47. On April 8, 2013, Ms. Tina Smith, Director of Human Resources) mct with Mr. Turner to discuss the conduct addressed in the statement of charges. At the beginning of the meeting, Ms. Srnith specifically told Mr. Turner that he was prohibited from recording their meeting.  (Tr. 235).

48. To ensure that the  meeting  was  not  being  recorded  by  Mr.  Turner's  cell  phone, Ms. Smith asked Mr. Turner to  turn off  his  cell  phone.  Mr.  Turner  representcd  that  the  cell phone was off.

49. Mr. Turner secretly continued to record the meeting in a manner that  was hidden from Ms. Smith.  (Tr. 235_)

50. Mr. Turner subsequently revealed that he had surreptitiously recorded the meeting by posting the recording of the meeting with Ms. Smith on The Turner Report, which is one of Mr. Turner's blogs.  (Exhibit 40.)

51. Board Policy GBCB provides in part that employees must follow directions given by the administration and must maintain courteous and professional relationships with other employees of the district.  (Exhibit 16.)

52. By secretly recording the meeting, Mr. Turner violated Ms. Turner's directive not to record the meeting. In addition, Mr. Turner's surreptitious recording of the meeting was not courteous and professional behavior toward Ms. Smith, another employee of the district.

53. On or about April 18, 2013, Mr. Turner was provided with a statement of charges of willful or persistent violation of or failure to obey, the published regulations of the Board of Education and immoral conduct. Mr. Turner was served with an amended statement of charges on May 3, 2013 and was also served with an amended notice of hearing at that time. (Exhibit 1.) Such hearing was conducted on May 23, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

1. Pursuant to the Teacher Tenure Act, § l68.J02  to  168.130  of  the  Revised Statutes of Missouri, the Board of Education has the authority to terminate the indefinite contract of  a tenured  teacher  as  a  result  of  immoral  conduct  and  us  a  result  of  willful  or persistent violation <.1f,  m failure to obey, the school laws of the State or the published regulations of the Board of Education.

2. The Amended Statement of Charges informed Mr. Turner of the specific conduct for which he was charged with willful or persistent violation of, or failure to obey, the school
laws of the State or the published  regulations  or the Board  of Education  and immoral conduct

(Exhibit 1). The board specifically concludes that there was no evidence presented that they feel rises to the level of immoral conduct, but this conclusion in no way minimizes the findings of policy violations .

3. In order to be found responsible for a willful violation of or failure to obey, Board Policy, there must be evidence to: (1) an intent to act, and (2) an intent to violate or disobey a particular policy or regulation. Carter County Sch. Dist., R-1 v. Palmer, 582 S.W.2d 347, 349-350 (Mo. App.  S.O. 1979).   As noted by Missouri courts, there is seldom direct proof of willfulness.   Significantly, Missouri Courts have inferred willfulncss from a single violation of a rule coupled with the teacher's prior knowledge of the rule. Burgess v. Ferguson Reorganized Sch. Dist., 820 S.W.2d 651 (Mo. App. E.D. 1991).

4. In order to be found responsible for a persistent violation or failure to obey,

Board Policy, there must be evidence of a continuing course of action in opposition of the Board Policy or regulation or admonition of administrators . A single violation of Board Policy is not a persistent violation.  Carter County Sch. Disr .. R-1, 582 S.W.2d at 349.


2 Contrary to the assertions of Mr. Turner's counsel during the hearing, Mr. Turner was not charged with immoral conduct for engaging in inappropriate relations with a student or any innuendo related thereto.  The  Amended Statement of Charges specifically indicates that Mr . Turner was charged with immoral conduct due to his providing and promoting obscene material containing graphic dcpictions of sexuality, rape, infidelity, profanity, domestic violence, school violence, and alcohol and drug use to children. Although the administration testified that the circumstances surrounding the allegation caused them to have a heightened level  of  concern  during  their investigation, the administracion indicated that they found no evidence that Mr. Turner had engaged in inappropriate relations with a student. The resulting connection by innuendo was made by Mr. Turner's counsel, not by the administration.

5. The evidence establishes that Mr. Turner was aware of the Board policies at issue. (Exhibit 10.)
6. The  evidence  establishcs  that  Mr. Turner had  notice  of  all  Board  policies as
indicated  on  the  Board  Policy  Acknowledgement  form.  (Exhibit  6.) The  evidence  further establishes that Mr . Turner had notice of Board Policy GBH.  (Exhibit 7.)

7. Mr. Tumcr's actions or promoting  and providing  inappropriate  material  that he
authored in No Child Left Alive to children, as described above, are in violation of Board Policy AC-Prohibition  Against Discrimination,  Harassment and Retaliation.

8_     Further, Mr. Turner's actions of promoting and providing inappropriate material that he authored in No Child Left Alive to children) as described above, are in violation of Board Policy

 GBH-Staff/Student   Relations.
9. Mr. Turner's actions as described herein are in violation of Board Policy EHB - Technology Usage.
10. Mr. Turner's actions as described herein are in violation of Board Policy GBCB - Staff Conduct.
1.1. Mr. Turner's  conduct,  as described  herein,  is also in  violation  of Board  Policy

GAEB - Teaching About Human Sexuality.

12. Mr. Turner's  conduct,  as described herein , is also  in violation  of Board  Policy IGBDA - Distribution of Noncurricular Student Publications.

13. Mr. Turner's conduct, as described above, is also in violation of Board Policy TIA

- Instructional Materials .

14. Mr. Turner's  conduct, as described  herein, is also in  violation  of Boa.rd .Policy TIA
Instructional Materials.

15. Mr. Turner willfully and/or persistently fa1led to obey the school laws of the State or the published regulations of the Board of Education by proviuing and promoting obscene matelial he authored entitled No Child L£r(t. Ali ve that contains graphic depictions or sexuality, rape, infidelity, profanity, domestic violence and school violence to eleven, twelve, thirteen and fourteen year old childre11 on multiple occasions and through various means atlcr he had notice of policies that would prohibit him from doing so without District authorization.

16.     Mr. Turner willfully and/or persistcntly failed to obey the school law of the State or the published regulations of the Board of Education by disclosing students' confidential educational records and information without authorization and utilizing the work of students for personal gain and without authorization.

17. Mr. Turner's conduct, as described above, is in violation of Board Policy GBCA - Staff Connict of lnterest .

18. Mr. Turner's conduct. as described herein, is in violation of Board Policy lGD.8 - Student Publications .

19. Mr. Turner willfully and/or persistently failed to obey the school laws of the State and the published regulations of the Board of Education by publishing the work of students for personal gain without district and proper parent authorization after he had nolk of policies that would prohibit him from doing so.

20. The  evidence  further  establishes  that  Mr.  Turner  was  aware  of Board  Policy
GBCB, which requires him to follow directions given by district administrators and to maintain courteous and professional relationships with other employees of the district, including administrators.

21. Mr. Turner intentionally acted to record the meeting on April 8, 2013 with Ms. Tina Smith and willfully violated Board Policy GBCB by secretly rccording the meeting with
Ms.  Smith, even  after immediately being  specifically  directed  not  to record  the meeting.

DECISION

Accordingly, it is the decision of the Board of Education that Mr. Turner's employment with the District be terminated effective immediately.
JOPLIN SCHOOLS

Links to the posts I have written about my situation can be found here.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

The district's witnesses were more credible? That says it all. The board has just told its teachers they better watch out. Make admin angry and they can make up any story they want about you and you can bet on no support. What a crock. Just hang a banner saying we hate teachers, why don't you? Thanks for reminding us that you can vote only the way CJ wants. At least we know where we stand.

Anonymous said...

One word sums it up: Shitcanned!

Cue up Kool and The Gang, Celebration time!

Anonymous said...

No one is surprised here. We just got reminded again why so many of our colleagues have walked away from the district.

Anonymous said...

Okaaay! This is my comment to the below quote from the this blog: WHAT THE FUCK!!! Excuse the profanity but it's warranted with this outrageous assertion.

"Contrary to the assertions of Mr. Turner's counsel during the hearing, Mr. Turner was not charged with immoral conduct for engaging in inappropriate relations with a student or any innuendo related thereto. The Amended Statement of Charges specifically indicates that Mr . Turner was charged with immoral conduct due to his providing and promoting obscene material containing graphic dcpictions of sexuality, rape, infidelity, profanity, domestic violence, school violence, and alcohol and drug use to children. Although the administration testified that the circumstances surrounding the allegation caused them to have a heightened level of concern during their investigation, the administracion indicated that they found no evidence that Mr. Turner had engaged in inappropriate relations with a student. The resulting connection by innuendo was made by Mr. Turner's counsel, not by the administration."

Anonymous said...

7:37 is a disturbed person. Must be admin. Or a brown noser future admin.

Anonymous said...

Did the board drink koolaid at their retreat? Once again they prove to be puppets of CJ and the gang. That's another thing we can always count on besides no support. He must have cried again.

Anonymous said...

I hope Mr. Turner sues the district, if there is still any money left to take, that is.

Anonymous said...

I hope they don't tell us anymore how much they appreciate us. No one wants to hear it. Actions speak louder than words. I can't stand the thought of going back now.

Anonymous said...

From what I saw at the hearing, one blonde board member was totally disengaged; yawning, checking her iPhone, and fluffing her hair during the process. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

When I first started teaching over 30 years ago, a veteran teacher told me there is no job security in this business because if they really want to get rid of you, they can and will do so by accusing you of violating board policy. Most of us violate one board policy or another without even realizing it. Late to school? That's a violation of board policy. Forget to clip on that ID badge? You're violating board policy.

So it doesn't really matter what you did or did not do and it doesn't really matter what they are accusing you of doing or whether they are telling the truth or not. They wanted you gone. I would be willing to bet they made their minds up a long time ago that you needed to go and they just waited for that inevitable violation of board policy.

Anonymous said...

Whatever you do don't start the year crying in front of us. We're not going to stand for it. Don't pretend to care. Just leave us alone.

Anonymous said...

Message to teachers:
Take no risks at all. Don't be creative in your lesson plans. Don't get close to the kids. Be quiet. Then leave as fast as you can. You'll get accused of something bad and get fired. It's not worth it now.

The message came through loud and clear.

Anonymous said...

How many jobs now has Mr. turner been terminated from?

Each time, he either writes a book or an extensive blog post explaining how it was not his fault or wrong doing. I'm not a reporter, but if I were, I would like ask one question, have you, Mr. Turner, ever done wrong?

It seems there are three common factors in each of his explanations, bad decision making, Mr. Turner and it's never his fault.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank the Board of No Education. I started and ended my career at Joplin. After five years i had enough and left. Now I don't feel guilty at all. I will never teach again, even though I loved the kids, but I can't stand the crap. Like a lot of other people, I've had to weigh the effect of the job on my whole life and reevaluate. It isn't worth the stress for the pay involved. So thank you, Board, for reassuring me that I made the right decision.

Jonathan Dresner said...

This is a very disappointing, if not unexpected, result, and you have my fullest sympathy. Institutions like schools have never entirely accepted or understood the power and reach of new media, and schools in particular have a hard time with the idea of teachers as complex adults rather than monkish ascetics.

Your case confirms, I'm afraid, the concerns about the Missouri law on internet communications by teachers: a complete abrogation of speech and association rights in favor of self-serving administrators giving lip service to child protection.

Anonymous said...

Once again the MODOT gang and the Rubber Stamp Club have reaffirmed their alliance at the expense of staff. I bet this is one proud moment for them. The only way it will stop is when parents do more than talk on Facebook. It's in your hands now. Do something. Talk is cheap.

Anonymous said...

Younger, newer teachers will match the German furniture and the drapes better. Look better for the media rush when the new buildings open. They better import some teachers too. We're running out around here.

Obviously, if they can do to Turner what they did, no one is safe. There is no target too big now that their power is absolute. Not even the appearance of perjury is too much for the Board to overlook.

Bill Benson said...

It seems to me that Mr. Turner actually created a curriculum and environment that encouraged his students to think independently, a notion that is highly frowned upon in today's educational paradigm of rote memorization and standardized testing. Turner is the savior of education, not the villain.

Andrea said...

I personally know a member of the school board, and she is indeed dumber than a box of rocks. But she means well and loves the kids, and she attends all of their school events. Even so, every person on that board needs to be voted out.

Anonymous said...

What a sad commentary on our society, that common sense is absent in both our Board of Education and R-8 Adminstration, as both know Mr. Turner is an educator that has proven to be exceptional in engaging students to think for themselves, and write about their mentor in the newspaper and this blog in his defense. The fact that Mr. Turner had inadvertently posted a link to his book on a blog that wasn't in use by students is immoral conduct? Unbelievable, considering what is available to students through mainstream media today, or the Internet, which our adminstrators gave all students access to with the laptop computers.

Factoids said...

There are important reasons that school districts must ensure teachers use approved curriculum. The districts could be sued by parents or groups who feel the material serves little pedagogical purpose or that it doesn't meet state requirements for appropriate educational instruction. Furthermore, the district has a legal right to ownership of intellectual ideas or images that should not be reproduced, especially for private gain, without permission. What this boils down to is an educator who felt that he could utilize his position to promote his own works and ideas as opposed to those instituted by his employer. At almost any job, if you willfully ignore a directive by a superior you are committing insubordination and that is always grounds for termination. Mr. Turner is now free to promote his own ideas on his own forum.

Factoids said...

Insubordination is always grounds for termination.

Susan said...

Too bad you didn't know that administrative hearings are sham tribunals. That's why most teachers take "settlements," or severance packages, but that ends their careers anyway since they have to disclose those on job applications. Anonymous 7:58 is telling the truth: You have NO job protections at all; in fact, you have fewer protections than at-will employees in the private or other government sectors.

Administrators can literally make up charges because they know administrative law is a bunch of crap. I found that out the hard way when I was illegally fired five years ago and have never worked a regular job again in any field. They get the "unions" to collude with them if necessary.

Anonymous said...

Factoids,

I, for one, most certainly hope that Mr. Turner does promote his own ideas, in the form of the truth, now that he is free from the district. I hope that he uses his best writing style, the documentary, so that the truth, which he will be able to back up with facts, data, and documentation, will show just how corrupt this district has become. I sincerely hope that is just what he does. There is a reason why they had to so completely discredit him. The district needs to make sure that Mr. Turner is not taken seriously. However, the truth will come out, and it will be verifiable, so, Factoids, sit back and watch.

Susan said...

"Insubordination" is whatever an unaccountable administrator says it is.

It's a catch-all term which means actually nothing at all. Anybody can be "insubordinate" for the most trivial of matters. Principals can and do make up anything because they know the districts will back them up.

Ethically, legally, and morally speaking, you don't destroy careers because you simply don't like somebody. Teaching is not like other jobs: job applications in other districts make sure you blackball yourself under threat of license sanctions. This should never be allowed in line of work.

Anonymous said...

Two words: petition audit.

Anonymous said...

8:07 nails it. School boards and administrators are so hellbent on receiving their precious federal funding via NCLB that they will regulate an educator like a Wal-Mart associate. Of course they will eliminate the 20+ year veteran and hire the docile Education major fresh out of college for a mere 25k starting.

Randy, research into homeschooling and bring something new to the table. That's your calling.

Anonymous said...

I've lost all faith in the Joplin School District and the people who run it, upper administrators and school board members alike. Perhaps there should be a vote of confidence among the teachers and staff--all 100 that are left.

Anonymous said...

Joplin School Board is equal to a very bad night at a sushi restaurant where you see the cook pull the fish out of a portable cooler. It stinks and will make you sick....

Anonymous said...

I expect the board and admin believe that everything will be forgotten by August, and then they'll spin some stories about misperceptions of their actions and choices by well meaning, but misguided, teachers and administrators.

It won't work, but they can try.

Anonymous said...

It's funny you can tell who all the teachers are on this comment section. There's certain criteria to follow for a reason. You don't follow it... you get shitcanned like Turner. Let this be a lesson to the rest of you liberal indoctrinators!

Anonymous said...

I am going to insist on a tape recording of any meeting I'm in, period.

Apparently, the tornado left a few admins there with a twisted view of due process.

And was it "courteous" to tell him not to record the meeting? That vague crap ought to cut both ways.

Anonymous said...

5:52, you make it pretty clear who is actually "indoctrinated" - but at least you know how to fall back on inappropriate language when actual debating skills fail you...