The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 23, 2013

Demonstrators show support for suspended teacher

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — About 30 people - students and adults - were carrying signs and demonstrating early this morning outside the Joplin schools administration building, 3901 E. 32nd St.

Most were carrying blue-and-white signs that said “Support Turner,” a reference to Randy Turner, a middle school teacher who was removed from his classroom and placed on administrative leave last month after an investigation by school district officials.

Turner, an eighth-grade communication arts teacher, has asked for a hearing to address the school board. That open hearing begins at 9 a.m. today.

Turner was placed on leave — a standard procedure — after the school district received a complaint about him from a district employee on April 4, according to Superintendent C.J. Huff. After an investigation into the complaint by the administration, a 28-page “statement of charges” was given to Turner on April 15, with a set of additional charges delivered to him earlier this month, Huff said.

Turner has declined several requests to comment on the record to the Globe. Huff has not specified the nature of the complaint or released details of the charges, either.

While not making any details of the complaint public, the notice of the hearing states that children younger than 18 will not be permitted into the hearing unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian because of the “graphic content” that is expected to be discussed.