Trio of teachers says they unfairly lost their jobs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Trio of teachers says they unfairly lost their jobs

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April 26, 2006

Albany - Three Dougherty County school teachers say their contracts weren't renewed because they spoke out about problems with students and staff. The teachers work at the Southwest Georgia Regional Achievement Center and Phoenix School, county programs for students at risk of dropping out or who've had problems at other schools.

The teachers say the school's principal, Norman Simms, allowed students to get credit for classes they didn't take. And when they complained, he told them to resign or be fired.

Attorney Maurice King told Dougherty County School Board members that teachers Peter and Carol Moore and Lawrence Davis were unfairly forced out of their classrooms, after telling the administrator of the Southwest Georgia Regional Achievement Center about problems with students.

The teachers say students were getting credit and higher scores in classes they didn't take or rarely attended. Carol Moore said when she complained, Principal Norman Simms gave her a bad evaluations. The others say Simms told them the school system was restructuring the program, and they could either resign or their contracts wouldn't be renewed.

King asked board members to hold a hearing so the teachers can tell their side of the story.

"According to our rules and procedures and state law, they are not entitled to a hearing because they are not tenured," said Board Chairman Willie Weaver.

Board Chairman Willie Weaver says members will consider holding a hearing only after Attorney King shows them documents and evidence of wrongdoing and unfair treatment. But Weaver says board members have received numerous complaints from parents and staff about problems at the school, before this teacher controversy.

"Talking about the inner workings of the school, whether or not we have the right personnel there, whether we have enough personnel there, whether we have enough security there," said Weaver. 

He says the system is now restructuring the program in hopes of ending fights and problems among students.

"Putting specific types of kids on specific halls, isolating other students...things like that to keep a better reign on them and what they are doing."

And Weaver says board members plan to ask the superintendent look into the administration and workings of the school to make sure the students are getting a good education and a better chance to succeed.

Principal Norman Simms told us he could comment on questions about personel.

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