Fairdale Elementary teacher fired by JCPS files appeal, wants he - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fairdale Elementary teacher fired by JCPS files appeal, wants her job back

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Jefferson County Public Schools teacher who was fired after an investigation into adult misconduct involving student injuries has appealed her termination. 

Jodi Anderson, a teacher at Fairdale Elementary School, was terminated by the district on Sept. 23

Anderson, through her attorney Don Meade, submitted a letter to Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt on Sept. 29, stating that Anderson "intends to answer the charges against her. We request that a tribunal be appointed to conduct an administrative hearing."

Under state law, any certified public school employee who is terminated, suspended without pay or publicly reprimanded has the right to appeal the superintendent's decision to a tribunal. The panel consists of an active or retired teacher, an administrator and a lay person -- none of whom reside in the county involved in the dispute.

According to Anderson's termination letter, she was fired for "conduct unbecoming of a teacher, inefficiency, incompetency and neglect of duty." 

Anderson has been the subject of several previous district investigations involving improper restraint. According to records obtained through an open records request, Anderson had previously worked at Layne Elementary School. She was reassigned to Fairdale Elementary this summer.

Anderson was one of 10 employees who were suspended on Sept 14 and is among the 14 employees Superintendent Donna Hargens referred to in a report to the Jefferson County Board of Education on Aug. 23.

In that report, Hargens said the district made a "data entry discrepancy" in reporting to the state the number of times students were either physically held down or confined to a room during the 2014-15 school year.

Each of those incidents are outlined in her five-page termination letter, which states that earlier this month, "an investigator interviewed two former employees who confirmed a pattern of your misconduct beginning on or about the 2006-2007 school year and continued through the school year 2014-2015."

When asked why JCPS didn't fire Anderson after the district substantiated other cases against her over the past eight years , Hargens told WDRB News on Wednesday that "it's a process."

Hargens would not comment further.

A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education said Thursday that a tribunal date has not yet been set for Anderson.

During a tribunal hearing, both sides subpoena witnesses to testify and who are subject to cross-examination by the other side. Each side also introduces exhibits to prove their case.

The tribunal panel then has five days to render a decision with a majority vote. The decision is binding and may be appealed to circuit court by either party.

Anderson can request that her tribunal be conducted in private or in public.

Meade could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

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