A first grade teacher in the Jefferson County School System was given a three-day suspension and will be reassigned following an incident with a student.
Donnalyn Taylor, a first grade teacher at Talbott Elementary School, was suspended as result of sliding a chair across the classroom. The chair broke and it was initially alleged one of its pieces reportedly struck another child. However, upon investigation, it was determined that the pieces didn’t strike any children. Taylor had told her principal that she had become impatient with a student in her classroom when the incident happened.
After the three-day unpaid suspension, Taylor was reassigned to Jefferson Academy Alternative School for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
In a letter to Taylor from Director of Schools Dr. Shane Johnston, “this incident was caused by your having lost your composure while dealing with a student. This behavior is far below the standards the Board of Education expects of its veteran teachers and is potentially in violation of the Tennessee Teacher Code of Ethics (T.C.A. 49-5-1003 (b) (4) (5)),” Johnston said.
Additionally, when these potential violations occur, the director is obligated to report this to the Tennessee Office of Educator Licensure. This is under State Board review, Johnston said in the letter.
Taylor chose to self-report the incident to her superiors, the letter stated. The matter was reported to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services in the event that the state might have viewed her actions to be brutality, abuse or neglect. The investigation also included interviewing witnesses. The Talbott Elementary principal contacted the mother of the child who stated that her daughter had been “unnecessarily dramatic” when describing the events of Aug. 9 and that her child was not struck. The mother had the discernment to ask clarifying questions of the child and she was able to arrive at the conclusion that her daughter had not been struck by chair pieces, Johnston said.
The investigation concluded that the incident was less serious than initially believed.
Because Taylor has taken this action seriously and in view of her excellent work history, Johnston said he believed she would be unlikely to commit this again and to learn from the experience. After finishing her assignment at Jefferson Academy, Johnston said that he would consider reassigning her to an elementary position at the start of the 2020-21 school year.