The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 7, 2013

Joplin School Board terminates Randy Turner’s contract

By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. —

In a 7-0 vote, the Joplin Board of Education terminated the teaching contract of Randy Turner, a communication arts teacher at East Middle School, in a closed session Thursday night.

The vote was disclosed on Friday by John Nicholas, the board’s attorney.

Nicholas said the decision to release the outcome of the vote came after Turner’s attorney was contacted on Friday.  

The board had to reveal the vote within 72 hours of the vote, according to state law.

Under state law, Turner may appeal the decision in circuit court. In a telephone interview on Friday, Turner said he had not made a decision about an appeal.

A termination hearing for Turner was conducted May 23; in it district administrators accused Turner of engaging in immoral conduct.

Turner said he was emailed a copy of the board’s decision by his attorney.

Termination charges against Turner, which were recommended by Superintendent C.J. Huff, included allegations that he intentionally violated district policies and that he made available to middle school students material that contained inappropriate sexual content.

The hearing was held before the board because only the board has authority to fire a tenured teacher. The board heard nearly 10 hours of testimony from more than a dozen witnesses. More than 45 exhibits were accepted into evidence.

No parents or students testified against Turner in terms of his moral character or his ability to teach.

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 Huff. After an investigation into the complaint by the administration, a 28-page “statement of charges” was given to Turner on April 15, and a set of additional charges was delivered to him in early May.