Teacher settles suspension with Blount Schools
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
A Blount County teacher has settled her case against the school district.
Sally Jo Witty has reached a settlement with Blount County Schools, but the settlement’s terms aren’t being released. She is no longer employed by the school district.
Blount County Director of Schools Rob Britt declined to comment.
Witty was suspended without pay for 90 days as a result of charges stemming from an Aug. 1 incident.
At the time of Blount County Schools’ Oct. 22 reprimand, the teacher’s assignment was at Heritage Middle School with the “option of reassignment on or before Jan. 4.”
On Jan. 4, Britt reassigned Witty to a teaching position at the Everett Learning Opportunity Center. However, the teacher never worked at the school. Witty’s doctor advised his patient against returning to the workplace.
Blount County Schools’ investigation into the allegations against Witty lasted nearly three months. School officials initially brought allegations of neglect of duty, incompetence and insubordination against Witty, and they later added an unprofessional conduct charge.
Witty reported Aug. 1 for a professional development seminar in skorts, or a pair of women’s shorts with a fabric panel resembling a skirt that covers the front, according to the district’s Aug. 3 reprimand. Administrators said the skorts weren’t long enough and were inappropriate.
School officials allege that she disobeyed directives to change clothes, spoke with other employees about the incident and played segments of tape-recorded conversations for them. They also documented concerns with her competence, personal appearance and hygiene.
System-level administrators didn’t collect sufficient evidence to bring charges of incompetence or neglect of duty against Witty, according to the Oct. 22 reprimand. However, they collected sufficient evidence to bring charges of insubordination and unprofessional conduct.
The insubordination charges “specifically include delaying, debating and demonstrating defiance with a directive” given by Principal Steve Moser, according to the Oct. 22 reprimand. The unprofessional conduct charges “specifically include remarks (Witty) made about (her) administrators in the presence of other employees on the Heritage Middle School campus.”
Witty allegedly used profane language when talking about administrators on Aug. 1.
She was required to participate in an improvement plan, which was specifically related to areas of deficiency documented throughout the school district’s investigation, according to the district’s Oct. 22 reprimand. The document stated that building- and system-level administrators intended to closely monitor the plan.