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Tribunal recommends suspension

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The tribunal hearing the case against Monroe Band director and Morningside music teacher Jamar Smith says he should be suspended for 20 days, without pay, but not lose his job.

The board was acting on a recommendation to fire him after he was arrested for hitting students on September 24th.

During Dr. Mosely's testimony, he did recommend the termination of the band director.

Two students also told their accounts of what happened.  Both students, one who the band director allegedly pushed, and the other who the band director allegedly slapped, are fifth graders at Morningside Elementary.

A 13 year old girl was allegedly pushed, and the boy is now 11 years old now. He was ten at the time of the incident, which was on Sept 20th. Several teachers spoke as well.

Smith was charged with simple battery for striking a couple of elementary school students earlier in September.

Investigators said 32 year old Jamar Smith, a teacher at Morningside Elementary School, pushed a fifth grade female student against a wall and then slapped a fifth grade boy student in the face three times.

Smith turned himself in to Sheriff's Office officials at the jail and posted bond for one thousand dollars on the misdemeanor charges. Smith has been on administrative leave with pay since September 20th.

Dougherty County School Superintendent Dr. David  Mosely said, "It's always disappointing when you have an employee who doesn't follow the guidelines. You have to pay the price if you're going to break the rules."

Smith later posted a $1,000 bond to be released from jail.

All three tribunal members, including F.D. Toth, who made the motion to have Smith suspended, said the evidence presented did not warrant termination.

"They put him in a 3rd, 4th, 5th grade class where he's never been before  and he was just thrown in there with no preparation and didn't know how to handle it and so he did kind of lose it with the noise level, but it didn't warrant a termination," says F.D. Toth, who served on the tribunal.

Dougherty County school superintendent Dr. David Mosely believes Jamar Smith should be fired 

"Based on the information that we received it was a clear disregard for our discipline policy, you don't put your hands on students and you certainly don't slap students, doing a few push ups, and holding books over your head is probably inappropriate but that might could of been dealt with," says interim superintendent David Mosely.

When it was his turn on the stand, Smith admitted touching the students, but not aggressively.  He described pushing the girl similar to pushing a grocery cart through a story.

He also admitted making students do push-ups, and holding books above their head as punishment for disrupting class.

One teacher who testified said both students were known to cause disruptions during class.

Neither Smith, nor his lawyer wanted to comment on camera, but Smith's father, who was present for the hearing, said he thought the tribunal hearing was fair.

"Considering this may have been a termination, this is great for us. Jamar just wants to get back to work. He is a good man, a good teacher, and he is definitely a good son," says Michael Decuir, Jamar's father.

The final decision on whether Smith will keep his job will be made by the Dougherty County School Board.

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