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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. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

  2. I agree. My husband has almost the exact same situation. Age states and all.

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  4. Andrew, if what you report is true, then it certainly is newsworthy. If what you report is false, then it certainly is newsworthy. Any journalists reading along??? And that same Coordinator blew me up real good as well, even destroying evidence to get the ordered wetwork done. There is a story here, if any have the moxie to go for it. Search ADA here for just some of my experiences with the court's junk yard dog. https://www.scribd.com/document/299040062/Brown-ind-Bar-memo-Pet-cert Yep, drive by shootings. The lawyers of the Old Dominion got that right. Career executions lacking any real semblance of due process. It is the ISC way ... under the bad shepard's leadership ... and a compliant, silent, boot-licking fifth estate.

  5. Journalism may just be asleep. I pray this editorial is more than just a passing toss and turn. Indiana's old boy system of ruling over attorneys is cultish. Unmask them oh guardians of democracy.

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