Fifth grade teacher Nicole LeMire of Glen Oaks Elementary School in Delaware County, Ohio, was fired at the conclusion of a school board meeting this week for a reason that has many parents and former students scratching their heads.
No one disputes that LeMire was standing up to a classroom bully when she took action, but the school board sent her a letter placing her on paid administrative lead “within days,” according to NBC4i.
The student that Nicole disciplined had picked on several of his fellow classmates. His abuses included using inappropriate language at the other kids, blowing mucus on one, and pushing another boy to the ground, the news site states.
So what did Nicole LeMire do in reprimanding him that prompted board action?
“I said ‘do you know how your actions and your words are hurting other students and your friends,'” she said.
A report from ThisWeek Community News added that the board had passed a resolution stating that LeMire “on April 14 asked students in her class to take turns saying how another student had misbehaved ‘and/or why (the student) was annoying or had no friends.'”
Board members Roger Bartz, Dave King, and Kevin O’Brien were the three votes that favored suspending Nicole LeMire without pay pending the final termination of her contract, while board member Julie Wagner Feasel voted against.
(One board member was absent from the proceedings.)
Only one of the affirmatives — O’Brien — was willing to talk with the press shortly following the vote.
O’Brien told ThisWeek that his vote “reflected both the comments and what he had learned in a closed-door executive session regarding the situation.”
“We’ve got to act on everything we’ve been presented with,” he added.
As for Feasel, who voted to keep LeMire in her position, she told the site that she is “allowed to vote the way I feel” but did not expand on why she went against firing the teacher.
A throng of supporters — parents, former students, and district employees — showed up to speak in Nicole’s favor, including one man who screamed at the board “you’re all fired,” meaning he would do whatever it took to get them voted out of office.
Another parent, who said the bully LeMire stood up to attacked her son, had this to say.
“I know that my son needed to be stood up for, and (LeMire) stood up for him.”
While LeMire has procured legal counsel, she also acknowledges that the school board may have just been using the incident to get her out. According to the same resolution that accused her of “publicly humiliating” the bully, it was also noted that she had received previous unpaid suspensions in June and December 2014 for “missed deadlines” and “poor communication.”
In other words, her paperwork may not have been so hot in spite of the fact that the show of support at this week’s board meeting was overwhelmingly in her favor.
Parent Thomas Sweeney saw the move as a “big mistake” on the part of the board.
“There’s so many future children that she (would) influence in a positive manner,” said Sweeney in comments to ThisWeek. “Anything that she does, she is always motivated to improve the lives of the children.”
Do you think Nicole LeMire should be reinstated? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Image via NBC4i, linked above]