There are two reasons on the standard list of reasons for possible nonrenewal of contract that produce particularly interesting cases, the kind that might be featured in a made-for-TV movie. Here’s the first one.
Any activity, school connected or otherwise, that, because of publicity given it, or knowledge of it among students, faculty, or the community, impairs or diminishes the employee’s effectiveness in the District.
One school district used this as the basis for nonrenewing the contract of a teacher who allegedly had a sexual relationship with a student. Having a sexual relationship with a student is definitely grounds for the nonrenewal of a contract. But the district never produced evidence of the relationship. Instead, in an effort to avoid having students testify about such a sensitive matter, the district produced evidence at the nonrenewal hearing about the widespread publicity, including local TV news. Everyone in town was talking about it. Obviously, the argument went, this teacher could no longer be effective.
The school’s strategy did not work. The Court of Appeals held that the policy, as written, provided a valid basis for a teacher’s nonrenewal. But the court emphasized the word “activity.” To rely on this reason the school must produce evidence of some activity that the teacher engaged in that produced the “publicity” and “knowledge” in the community. Without proof of some activity by the teacher, this policy reason could lead to a teacher losing a job based solely on rampant rumors and false reports. The case is Peaster ISD v. Glodfelty, decided by the Court of Appeals in Fort Worth in 2001. It’s reported at 63 S.W.3d 1.
DAWG BONE: WHAT DID THE TEACHER DO THAT LED TO ALL THAT “PUBLICITY” AND “KNOWLEDGE” IN THE COMMUNITY?
Tomorrow: The importance of good relationships…