Black Officially Fired As BG High School Teacher | Community
A Bowling Green High School teacher’s contract has been officially terminated after a series of hearings on charges of insubordination and violating the district’s code of conduct.
The Bowling Green City Schools Board of Education, without comment, approved a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting finding “good and just cause for the termination of (Dallas) Black’s employment contract as recommended by the referee’s report.
Black said he could appeal.
In July, the board unanimously approved Black’s immediate suspension without pay or benefits, pending termination proceedings.
Black taught Spanish at BGHS for 18 years,
The dismissal was based on the following, as stated in the report filed by Lee Belardo, who served as arbitrator at the hearing:
Black left the job early after the first period without proper approval (twice); attempted to use personal leave in violation of the terms of the collective bargaining unit or district procedures (four times); sent an email in violation of board policy which states that email should be used to conduct official business and communicate with co-workers, students, parents and community members (six times); sent an e-mail denigrating the district administration and district employees (four times); sent an email in violation of a Superintendent’s direction (once); sent an email containing students’ names and personal information without parental permission, in violation of the Family Education Rights and Protection of Privacy Act (twice); committed acts of insubordination (once); and committed acts unbecoming of a teacher (three times).
In his post-hearing brief, Black said his 1st Amendment rights were violated.
Belardo wrote in his report that the First Amendment does not provide blanket protection against deliberate and reckless lies, or hostile and accusatory emails directed at school district officials.
In July, Black said that on the days he left work, he first made sure a substitute was in class. He said district officials set a trap about the days he took that allegedly violated the collective bargaining unit. Black said that when he requested days off and was told the district cap for teachers’ days off had been reached, those days were never removed from the system.
Regarding FERPA’s claims, Black said he asked two students to send him an email summarizing their experiences with the credit flexibility he offered his Spanish students. He said he had their permission to share their emails.
FERPA is supposed to prevent a teacher from disclosing a student’s record.
The arbitrator delivered his report to the board on June 13.
Black said in a phone conversation earlier this week that the umpire “approved of everything the district suggested.”
He was not allowed to play a recording that allegedly proved that a director had perjured himself in the witness stand, because there was an objection based on lack of merit, that is, the manner whose recording was made, the chain of custody and proof that it had not been altered.
Typically, when a lawyer objects, the defendant is given a short time to respond, Black said.
The arbitrator upheld the objection and years of audio recordings he has been referring to for months have not been heard, Black said.
“If I had a lawyer to warn me about the foundation or if the arbitrator had been more fair, they did not give me the opportunity to come back under oath” after reading the foundation’s laws, a- he declared.
Black said he didn’t have a lawyer because he didn’t think he needed one.
According to the report, the hearing lasted nine days, and on the ninth day, Black opted out. His presence was not required. That day, several witnesses subpoenaed by Black were called to the witness box and were questioned by the district attorney.
The hearing ended as Black indicated via email that he would not attend the additional three days that had been scheduled, according to the report.
Black said district employees were questioned and he was not given an opportunity to be cross-examined, and the arbitrator objected to the most damning evidence he had. He said the arbitrator also did not respond to a single email sent by Black and was underinformed of the case law.
“I never got a chance to bring my other witnesses and my most important evidence was disqualified by the district attorney when I wasn’t there,” he said.
“It’s so unbalanced that there’s nothing I’m doing right, including 18 years in the district telling the truth,” he said.
“Mr. Black has benefited from his due process (as outlined in) Ohio’s revised code,” District Superintendent Francis Scruci said.
Belardo, the arbitrator, was chosen by both sides from a list of recommendations provided by the Ohio Department of Education, he said.
Belardo heard all the evidence and made a decision, and the board accepted his recommendation, Scruci said.