The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 24, 2013

Joplin School Board decision could take up to two weeks; Turner remains on paid leave

It could take up two weeks for the Joplin Board of Education to decide whether Randy Turner’s teaching contract should be terminated, the school district’s attorney, John Nicholas, said Friday.

“The board has not made any decisions yet,’’ he said. “The state statute indicates that the court reporter has to provide a transcript (of Thursday’s termination hearing) within 10 days.

“That could happen at any time within the next 10 days. The board must make a decision within seven days of receiving the transcript,’’ he said.

In the meantime, Turner, a communication arts teacher at East Middle School, will continue to be an employee of the school district, the attorney said.

Only the board can terminate a tenured teacher. The board, he said, “could terminate, not terminate or take some other action.’’

If the board chooses to terminate Turner’s contract, it must reveal the vote to do that within 72 hours of the decision.  

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, and a set of additional charges was delivered to him earlier this month.

Termination charges against Turner, which were recommended by Huff, include allegations that he engaged in immoral conduct, that he intentionally violated district policies and that he made available to middle school students material that contained inappropriate sexual content.

Thursday’s hearing involved nearly 10 hours of testimony from more than a dozen witnesses and accepting more than 45 exhibits into evidence. Huff, in testimony on Thursday, said Turner’s hearing was his first as a superintendent.

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

 

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