Parents, students and teachers attended the Dickson Public School regular board of education meeting Monday to address a former investigation into alleged threats made by a teacher.
Following the approval of regular agenda items, the board heard from three different individuals. The first to speak was the mother of a student that was allegedly threatened by the Dickson High School teacher earlier in November.
The board advised that the teacher remain anonymous in compliance with state law regarding personnel issues.
The Dickson Police Department reportedly launched an investigation into the accusations, later turning the investigation over to the District Attorney’s office on Nov. 18.
However, District Attorney Craig Ladd declined to file charges, stating that the matter should be handled at an administrative level.
While Dickson Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Colclasure said state law prohibits him from discussing personnel issues, the student’s mother stated that the teacher was allegedly allowed to return to the classroom.
“What message does this give to students? That is why I’m here today. The school brought this teacher back to the classrooms, what impact is that making for our kids?” the student’s mother asked the board.
The mother went on to address the board, stating that her son has been a student in Dickson Public Schools since 2014; and while he has been in trouble for talking too much in class, “he always tried to do the right thing,” she said.
The mother told the board the teacher had threatened to “shoot (her son) in the head,” and while the investigation was pending, her son withdrew from Dickson schools.
“He didn’t want to face someone that had said she would shoot him in the head,” she said. “As the administration of Dickson schools, safety of every child should be the priority at the beginning of every day. If this was a staff member’s child this was said to I feel the situation may have been resolved differently.”
However, the second individual to address the board advised that such alleged threats were out of the teacher’s character.
“Myself and a plethora of students, teachers and parents respect her and admire her. We believe her incapable of ill will towards the students she so tries to help,” said Connor Boren, a student at Dickson Public Schools.
Boren said the teacher in question has played a ‘pivotal role’ in his education and readiness for college. “She steered me down the college bound path when I thought I wouldn’t amount to anything,” he said.
Boren went on to describe the teacher’s character in and outside the classroom, which he said has been demonstrated in her accommodation for those who “need help, advice, someone to talk to, or a shoulder to cry on”.
This sentiment was echoed by the third person to speak, the teacher’s coworker, JD Windham.
Windham said he has known the teacher for four years and referred to her as a “near-perfect depiction of what an educator is supposed to be,” adding that she has resolved issues with a great deal of professionalism in the past.
“She is tough, yet understanding. Her suaveness is sometimes mistaken for sarcasm, but we assure you she is one of the best of the best just like this school,” Windham said.
Windham concluded by handing the board a stack of letters from his coworkers, which he said attest to the character of the teacher in question, and said he feels that the administration has handled the situation fairly.
“We have witnessed this district handle some rather difficult situations with the highest level of professionalism and outstanding decision making to ensure the safety of our students and the best outcome for our students and teachers alike,” Windham said.
No further action was taken by the board regarding the discussion.