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COA upholds termination of Bloomington high school teacher

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Finding that substantial evidence supported the decision by the school board to end Bloomington High School South teacher Stephen Smith’s contract, and that the board followed proper procedures in canceling the contract, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s affirmation of the board’s decision.

The Monroe County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees ended Smith’s contract in the summer of 2011 for insubordination, neglect of duty and other good or just cause. Smith, who taught at the school for 20 years and coached the freshman boys’ baseball team, was placed on paid administrative leave following loud and obscene outbursts at a social studies department meeting in May 2011. The outbursts came just a month after he suffered a severe injury after being hit in the head by a baseball.

As part of the leave, Smith was not allowed on any MCCSC property. The administrative leave was extended on July 15, 2011, and he was informed over the phone the same conditions applied. His termination came after he went to an elementary school to return a key to a staff member.

Many of Smith’s challenges on appeal asked the judges to reweigh evidence, which it would not do. In Stephen G. Smith v. Board of School Trustees of the Monroe County Community School Corporation, 53A01-1211-MI-511,the appellate court found the rule prohibiting him from any school property was not ambiguous or unreasonable. It also found that the board’s conclusion that Smith willfully disobeyed the rule prohibiting him from school property is not clearly erroneous.

Smith’s due process rights were not violated because the notice given to him by the school was sufficient, the judges held. The notice amply stated the reasons for the preliminary decision to end his contract and the summary facts put him on notice of the facts the school corporation planned to present at the conference before the board.

 The COA also noted no error in the admission of hearsay testimony and that the board’s decision was not based solely on hearsay evidence.
 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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