TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Spencer County Public Schools Superintendent Chuck Adams will remain on paid administrative leave indefinitely and must appear before the district’s board in closed session on June 14, the Spencer County Board of Education decided Monday.
The school board, which put Adams on paid leave at its April 26 meeting and voted to extend it on May 10, voted unanimously to continue the superintendent’s administrative leave amid sexual harassment allegations raised by a teacher in her lawsuit against the board. Assistant Superintendent Chuck Abell is serving as district’s top administrator in Adams’ absence.
The board discussed personnel and pending litigation behind closed doors for nearly an hour and a half during a Monday meeting.
Adams must meet with the board in executive session during its June 14 meeting for preliminary talks on his evaluation and for discussions that could lead to disciplinary action, according to the board’s vote.
Lynn Shelburne, the board’s chairperson, apologized in a written statement because the board is “unable to add any additional comments regarding pending litigation or personnel issues at this time.”
“Moving forward, we are asking our community for support and understanding so that we can determine appropriate next steps for our school district,” she said in the statement.
Shelburne declined further comment on the matter after Monday’s meeting.
The teacher, represented by Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, claimed in a lawsuit filed against the school board April 21 that she received unwanted attention from Adams starting shortly after she was hired by the school district in October 2018. Adams, she said, often visited her classroom and rarely discussed work issues with her.
The woman also accused Adams of sending her unsolicited phone calls and text messages, such as reaching out to her while she took personal leave and when she did not attend a school board meeting, and seeking her out at school sporting events. In two instances included in the lawsuit, the woman says Adams grabbed her foot while walking by her on the bleachers at a basketball game and reached into a box of candy she was holding and touched her hand while at another basketball game.
While the woman is named in court records, WDRB News does not identify alleged victims of sexual harassment.
The teacher claims the school board knew of the situation in April and “failed to implement prompt and appropriate corrective action and, in fact, compounded Plaintiff's damages by not taking steps to remove Superintendent Adams from her work area,” according to the lawsuit.
Attorneys for the Spencer County Board of Education have asked for the lawsuit’s dismissal, arguing in a May 13 filing that the interactions between Adams and the teacher "mainly comprised of innocuous conversations and a mere handful of texts and ignored phone calls over the course of nearly three school years" and did not create a hostile work environment.
"The two alleged incidents of touching or comments like Adams' alleged statement about the plaintiff's 'contagious smile' are infrequent and cannot objectively be framed to be either severe or pervasive," Bowling Green attorneys Regina Jackson and Michael Owsley said in a memorandum supporting their motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Clay, however, argued in response that the dismissal motion should be rejected and that the board’s attorneys should be sanctioned because their filing is “not reasonable.”
He claims attorneys for the school board were told during an inquiry into the lawsuit that the board and district administrators failed his client “from top to bottom.”
“Plaintiff’s complaint alleges a course of conduct over a three year period which establishes Superintendent Chuck Adams stalked the Plaintiff from the first week she was hired by the Defendant,” Clay said in his response to dismissal motion filed Friday. “Plaintiff has not included in her complaint all the allegations against Mr. Adams, nor is she required to do so.”
The teacher's lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, attorney's fees, injunctive relief, and either judgment against the school board or a jury trial.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for June 9 in Spencer Circuit Court.
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.