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Attorneys will appeal Coleman ruling 

DUNDEE—The Dundee school district attorneys plan to appeal the decision from Hearing Officer Dennis Campagna concerning the no dismissal ruling of former Dundee social studies teacher Douglas Coleman.
Earlier in January, Campagna issued a Decision and Award on Remand. He found Coleman guilty of conduct unbecoming a teacher on three charges, but authorized no dismissal. Those charges were:
• Administering a test to his 12th grade government class that contained misspellings, was the same test used two years previously, tested at lower academic levels than should have been utilized for 12th grade students and contained inappropriate and suggestive vocabulary terms.
• Coleman made inappropriate references to a student with disabilities in a poor and/or failed attempt at humor on the 12th grade government examination.
• Attempted to bypass the established District procedure with respect to the utilization of movies within his class.
Previously the hearing officer found Coleman guilty of five other charges including threatening to kill a student for speaking during the Pledge of Allegiance, using nicknames in reference to students despite having been directed not to use nicknames and regularly ignoring fair and consistent grading practices. The other charges were touching a female student on the upper thigh in a manner she found disconcerting and inappropriately touching the hair, chest and necklace of at least one female student. The fifth charge was that Coleman regularly ignored fair and consistent grading practices.
Despite having found Coleman guilty of three additional acts of misconduct, Campagna refused to order additional discipline. The ruling stated, “It would be inherently unfair and totally contrary to the just cause protocol to issue further discipline to Mr. Coleman for actions that were never repeated and I will not do so.”
Dundee Central School District board of education authorized its attorneys to appeal the decision during their meeting Thursday, Jan. 13.  A press release distributed to media at the meeting stated, “The board of education is committed to ensuring the safety of its students and will continue to take whatever legal action is necessary to resolve this matter in favor of the students. The district believes that the six-month suspension was excessively lenient and contrary to our state’s public policy of being vigilant in protecting students in our schools. The district will continue to seek Mr. Coleman’s dismissal.
“The original six-month suspension is scheduled to expire on Feb. 1. The district will assign Mr. Coleman alternative responsibilities not involving access to students during the pendency of the appeal.”
In September 2010, Judge W. Patrick Falvey ordered Coleman to repay health insurance premiums that the district had paid by the hearing officer’s order for the six month period Coleman was suspended.

 

 

 



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