Bulletin: Assaulting the principal might get a teacher fired!

We can learn four things about teacher termination cases from the Commissioner’s decision in Timmons v. Killeen ISD. 

1. The quality of the school’s internal investigation of an incident doesn’t matter much if the case is ultimately heard by an independent hearing examiner. Here, the teacher argued that the investigation was poorly done and even biased. The Commissioner blew that off:

The results of an investigation have no inherent weight. Just like every other piece of evidence, the results of an investigation, assuming they are properly admitted into evidence, are weighed by the independent hearing examiner.

2. The Commissioner is not going to determine how the case should have been decided.  He is going to determine if there is “substantial evidence” in the record to support the decision made by the school board.

3. The deadline for filing the Petition for Review does not end at the close of business. Here the Petition arrived after hours on the deadline day, (9:56p.m. by FAX), but the Commissioner ruled that it was timely.

4. Principals may be overworked and underpaid, but can take comfort in the fact that getting physically assaulted by a teacher might result in the teacher getting fired. No one disputed that basic proposition in this case.

Kudos to my long time law partner, Mark Goulet, for guiding the district through this one. The independent hearing examiner found good cause for the teacher’s termination; the board approved that recommendation; and the Commissioner has affirmed the decision.

The case of Timmons v. Killeen ISD was decided by Commissioner Morath on May 1, 2017.  Docket No. 019-R1-03-2017.


File this one under: LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

Tomorrow: When you go to the Immunity Store, be sure you know what you are getting….