School’s letter of reprimand for teacher goes before hearing officer
A dispute between the Terry School Board and the Terry Teachers
Association, MEA-MFT regarding a letter of reprimand that was placed
in a Terry teacher’s file was heard May 9 before hearing officer
Donald Olson, who was contracted by the two parties to settle the
matter. Olson is certified with the Montana Department of Labor and
Industry’s Board of Personnel Appeals.
The May 9 hearing began shortly after 9 a.m. in the community room
of Stockman Bank and was completed about 3:30 p.m. The hearing, which
closely resembles court proceedings, included swearing in of
witnesses and opening arguments given by both sides. The Terry School
District called three witnesses to testify before Olson on the
matter, while the Terry Teachers Association called two witnesses.
Both sides were allowed to cross examine witnesses.
Written closing arguments are due to Olson June 23. Olson is then
required to present a decision within 30 days of the closing arguments.
The Terry Teachers Association is represented by Maggie Copeland.
The Terry School District has hired attorney Rich Batterman to
represent the school in the matter.
The dispute stems from a letter of reprimand that was placed in
fifth grade teacher Susan Tyler’s teaching file during the 2013-14
school year. Tyler stated in earlier reports that she believes the
letter doesn’t belong in her teaching file because it isn’t in
regards to teaching her students. The letter of reprimand was placed
in Tyler’s teaching file in regards to checks given by parents for
sports buttons benefiting the Accelerated Reading Program that were
not handed in or cashed in an appropriate amount of time. Tyler
subsequential tore up the checks and wrote a personal check of her
own, covering the amount raised from the discarded checks.
The Terry School Board has unanimously supported Superintendent
Casey Klasna’s decision to place the letter in Tyler’s teaching file.
Published May 21, 2014