An Ohio teacher who was fired after confronting a classroom bully said she has plans to fight the dismissal.
Nicole LeMire has been a teacher at the Olentangy Local School District for 14 years, but she was abruptly fired last week after she called out a student who was bullying his peers. LeMire said the boy was blowing his nose on other children, using bad language, and had pushed another student to the ground.
After an outcry, the teacher said she has plans to take legal action against the district.
LeMire said she tried to handle the situation gently, making the student think about his actions rather than berating him.
“Do you realize what your actions and your words (do) and how they’re hurting other students and your friends?” she told NBC 4, recounting the incident.
But some students told a different story. The school board, which voted 3 to 1 to fire the teacher, said she did more than reason with the bully. Students said the fifth-grade teacher shamed him, asking classmates to take turns saying how the student had acted out and why the student was annoying or had no friends. The alleged bully had to listen and wasn’t allowed to respond, the school board claimed.
A letter sent to the teacher informing her of the school’s intention to fire her had more details. It claimed that she showed “poor judgement” when trying to resolve the conflict.
“On April 15, 2015, you held a class meeting to discuss the incident… During this meeting, students were crying, and one student left the room crying and looking for a guidance counselor,” the letter claimed.
Board members claimed there was still more to the story, including details not yet known to the public.
The firing was controversial, with many parents speaking out against it.
“It’s embarrassing,” stated one woman. “I’m embarrassed to live in this district.”
Others defended LeMire, saying the teacher cares about her students and would never do anything to hurt one of them. One of the people who spoke at the meeting even called her “the most impact teacher I have ever had.”
But LeMire had been in trouble with the district before. She had received suspensions or written reprimands for a number of other incidents, and in December was warned that any more “unprofessional or unethical behavior” would result in her being fired.
The teacher fired for confronting the bully said she plans to sue the school district, but details of the suit were not available.
[Image via NBC4]