Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for March 20, 2014
Fredonia teacher terminated for professional misconduct
Fredonia-Moccasin Unified School District employee Jack Allen was terminated on March 11, 2014, for professional misconduct. Allen has taught various K-12 courses at the Fredonia Schools for the past four years, including music classes and Career and Technical Education classes.
After allegations of professional misconduct by students and fellow staff, Superintendent Joe B. Wright conducted a thorough investigation. Allegations included grabbing hold of a student and unprofessional communication with a co-worker.
Wright recommended Allen’s dismissal at a special Governing Board meeting on February 11, 2014. Board members Christine Johnson, Jim Goodnow, Marilyn Cox, Christy Riddle and Ron Johnson had the option to approve or disapprove the issuance of a notice of termination. It was a procedural meeting.
Allen requested the statement of charges and discussion surrounding the issue be discussed in open session rather than a closed executive session, stating, “I have nothing to hide.”
Superintendent Wright read the statement of charges that included incidents going back to 2011, with the first charge stating that he had lost his temper in the classroom.
Wright investigated and consulted the district’s legal counsel before giving his recommendation for dismissal to the Governing Board. The statement of charges were all based in fact and tied back to district policies broken by Allen.
The Fredonia Marshal’s Office had several officers posted at the meeting. When board member Christy Riddle asked if any criminal charges had been filed against Allen stemming from the incident with the students, Marshal Baden Grover stated, “Not as of yet.”
The statement of charges for Allen was unanimously adopted after being read. The acceptance of these charges results in termination of Allen’s contract effective 10 days from the Governing Board’s notice of intent to terminate and Allen being placed on administrative leave with pay until that termination. The notices included information about hearing rights and a copy of the charges that broke district policies. At that time, the Governing Board agreed if Allen requested a hearing, it would be held with the board and not a hearing officer.
Allen appealed the superintendent’s recommendation and the board’s decision, and asked for a special hearing, which took place on March 11, 2014. At Allen’s request, the meeting was held in private session. At that time, Allen was given the opportunity to tell his side of the story and dispute the charges against him.
After several hours of discussion, the board emerged from private session to conclude the hearing with a vote. Riddle made the motion to affirm termination; Goodnow seconded the motion; Ron Johnson, Christine Johnson, Goodnow and Riddle voted to affirm termination. Cox voted against the motion.
When asked about Allen’s termination, Wright said, “One of our district’s Belief Statements reads: ‘Students should be exposed to appropriate role models at school and be able to function in a safe, nurturing climate.’ We all work very hard at Fredonia-Moccasin USD to create the best educational environment we can for our students. The board’s decision in this matter shows their continued dedication in doing what they feel is best for students and their education.”