Dist. 50 trial delayed
Teacher says school district denied her due process in firing
Wednesday, January 01, 2014 12:30 AM
Former teacher Townsend Kirkland's lawsuit against District 50, Superintendent Darrell Johnson and Assistant Superintendent Randy Vaughn won't go to trial until on or after April 8.
The lawsuit was initially slated to proceed to trial on or after Dec. 10, 2013.
Kirkland, a former first-year teacher of the year, was terminated in the spring of 2012 for posting pictures of a student's work on Facebook.
According to case files, the district stated, "In May 2012, the District discovered that Ms. Kirkland had inappropriately photographed a student's classwork, which was an educational record, showing several questions and the student's incorrect responses and then posted it on her personal Facebook page."
Court documents show the district contends Kirkland violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Acts, stating the posting "would be embarrassing and humiliating to a small child and her family."
Kirkland filed suit claiming the district denied her procedural due process in her termination. Under South Carolina state law, teachers are guaranteed a full evidentiary hearing before the board of trustees before the termination is completed.
District 50 rebukes her claim, saying it provided her an opportunity for a hearing, and that opportunity was declined.
Kirkland argues the opportunity provided to her by the district did not fulfill the requirements outlined in South Carolina state law regarding terminating educators who are continuing contract holders. Rather, Kirkland claims the district only offered her an "informal hearing, contrary to her specific written requests."
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