A Sylvania agriculture teacher accused by the DeKalb County school board of not properly supervising students was given an eight-point corrective action plan Monday but will keep his job.
The board returned from a more than two-hour closed meeting and voted to allow John Nicholas Hall to keep his job after he serves a 45-day administrative leave without pay that started on Tuesday. It’s a suspension that will equal $13,200 in lost pay, superintendent Charles Warren said.
Hall took a leave of absence for the rest of the school year.
Upon returning to the classroom, Hall is required to visit and document 35 hours of observation in an agribusiness program to be determined by Warren. He is also required to meet with board attorney Donald Sweeney to discuss the liability placed on a board of education and an employee concerning the supervision of students.
Hall – who has about 14 years experience teaching in DeKalb County schools – is also required to attend a professional development activity that covers classroom management each year for the next five years. He is to provide detailed lesson plans for all classes under his supervision upon request. This includes a one-month synopsis and two weeks of lesson plans.
Hall is required to have an evaluation completed by the principal or a central office supervisor each month during next year’s school term. The evaluation must be completed after a classroom observation has taken place.
A letter of reprimand was placed in Hall’s personnel file.
The disciplinary action against Hall comes after DeKalb deputies charged six Sylvania School students on Dec. 9 with allegedly holding three girls against their will and touching them inappropriately through their clothing.
DeKalb School Resource Officer Scott Tarrant arrested the students, ranging from 13-16 in age, at the school. The students’ names were not released because they are minors.
Sheriff Jimmy Harris said five of the students each face sexual abuse and harassment charges. One student was charged with harassment.
Harris said the charges came after an investigation that started in mid-November. He said the charges involve incidents that allegedly happened in the school’s agriculture class since school started in August.
On Nov. 20, an apparent game of strip Uno took place in the same ag department classroom but involved a different class, Harris said.
At the time, Sylvania School principal Westley King said the incident involved the popular card game Uno and the removal of clothing. King said the students were apparently left alone in the agriculture classroom when the game started.
King said it appeared a handful of students were playing the game.
Warren said the action came upon the recommendation of the board’s attorney. He said Warren and the board also discussed pending litigation against the board during the closed meeting.
After the meeting, the board approved a settlement agreement with a support employee. Warren said the agreement has to be approved by a circuit judge before he can discuss it further.
Ft. Payne Times-Journal