The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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June 21, 2013

Fired Joplin teacher says he will not file for appeal

— Joplin middle school teacher Randy Turner said Friday that he will not appeal the Board of Education’s recent decision to fire him from his position.

Turner, who taught communication arts at East Middle School, made the announcement on his Internet blog.

“To (appeal) would be a waste of time, since the appeal process does not involve weighing the evidence or the legitimacy of the board’s decision,” he wrote. “The procedure would simply involve the court deciding if proper procedure was followed during my hearing.

“While anyone who was at my hearing may question why something that was so patently one-sided could be considered proper procedure, it appears the rules, as they are, were followed,” he wrote.

Turner said he will “carefully consider” other options, though he did not elaborate.

Neither Turner nor Superintendent C.J. Huff were immediately available for comment Friday night.

The board earlier this month unanimously voted to terminate Turner’s teaching contract after holding a termination hearing for him on May 23.

The district’s complaints against Turner accused him of immoral conduct because he had provided and promoted obscene material containing graphic depiction of sexuality to children in a book he authored called “No Child Left Alive.’’ Turner described the book as a satire on the state of public education in the United States.

The district’s charges, which were recommended by Huff, also included allegations that Turner intentionally violated several district policies.

The board’s decision to terminate his contract reflected at least nine policy violations, relating to staff conduct, technology usage, teaching about human sexuality, staff conflict of interest, and student publications, according to the decision.

The decision stated that the board found no evidence that rose to the level of immoral conduct, “but this conclusion in no way minimizes the findings of policy violations.”

The hearing was held before the board because only the board has the 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.

Background

Turner was placed on leave 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.

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