Bradley School Board Decides Not To Appeal The Susan Elliot Decision

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 - by Tony Eubank
Bradley County Schools Attorney Chris McCarty
Bradley County Schools Attorney Chris McCarty
- photo by Tony Eubank

The Bradley County Board of Education on Wednesday decided not to appeal Chancellor Frank Brown’s decision concerning the firing of Susan Elliot.

The board made the decision to let go of Ms. Elliot over a 2012 domestic assault arrest and varied allegations of misconduct in the classroom. The charges made against Ms. Elliot by the board included neglect of duty, unprofessional conduct, and unfitness to teach.  

The domestic abuse charge was never prosecuted, as the accuser recanted his story. Chancellor Brown later overturned her firing, finding that all of the accusations against the teacher to be largely unfounded.

Board Chair Vikki Beaty informed the board that if an appeal is to be made that it must be done by July 10 - just about three weeks away.

Board attorney Chris McCarty opened the meeting with an overview of the case so far and a recommendation that the board not pursue an appeal of the decision, adding while Ms. Elliot should be hired back per the Chancellor's decision, she should not return to Hopewell Elementary.

Attorney McCarty stated that without an appeal, the chancellor's decision is automatic and mandates that Ms. Elliot being rehired as a tenured teacher and receive full back pay for the time period that she was out of work. Mr. McCarty based his recommendation on the chancellor's standard of review.

Mr. McCarty stated that during an appeal the chancellor’s finding receives what is called a presumption of correctness and, while this does not make winning an appeal impossible, it does make it very difficult and possibly very costly to the taxpayers of Bradley County.

Board member Troy Weathers moved to vote to officially approve the chancellor’s decision; Board Member Nicholas Lillios introduced an amendment to the motion, adding that Ms. Elliot should be re-hired without bias.

Mr. Lillios said,  “I don’t want to see, because we’ve been through this, this teacher be mistreated by the system when she returns and relegated to the bowels of one of the schools or the back corner of the central office. I think this matter should be put to rest fully.”

Board member Chris Turner stated, “I encourage Mr. McDaniel to be very sensitive to the fact that only are we obligated to teach our kids, but we are also obligated to be a fair and unbiased employer. When you look at this ruling, I interpret it as we didn’t do much correctly if every single element of the case against this teacher was reversed.”

Mr. Turner pointed out that in reading the chancellor’s decision he found that in reviewing Ms. Elliot’s employee evaluations stated that she was a capable and competent teacher and suggested that the district add some more context and tone to their review process. The board voted 5 to 0 in favor of the amended motion. Board members Christy Critchfield and Rodney Dillard were absent.

Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel defended his original stance and recommendation to fire stating that he felt that he made the right decision based on the information presented at the time and his desire to protect the children  that attend Bradley County Schools.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALEXANDER, MELANIE SYDNEY 816 ASTERWOOD DRIVE ROSSVILLE, 30741 25 Chattanooga POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE - MARIJUANA BAXTER, TRAVIS MATTHEW 1330 GREENSLAKE ROAD EAST RIDGE, 37412 22 East Ridge AGGRAVATED DOMESTIC ASSAULT W/VEHICLE POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA BELL, CHARLIE ... (click for more)

Deputy Beaten After Vehicle Crashes In His Yard Sues Officers

A man who was mistakenly beaten by officers who had been pursuing a pickup truck that crashed into his home has sued Hamilton County and the officers for $700,000. Aaron Lucas Shelton and his wife, Heather Nicole Shelton, filed the suit in Circuit Court. Aaron Shelton is himself a deputy sheriff. It names Curtis Brian Killingsworth and unknown officers who allegedly took part ... (click for more)

We Ought To Pay Our Own Way

The government is too big. It has never been bigger - by any measure. It spends more money than any other single actor in our society. From Blue Rhinos to providing telecommunications services, our government knows no bounds. We’ve gone from a free enterprise system to a public enterprise system.  I'm not an artist. I'm not terribly tech savvy. The part of government that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Secret Train Ride

It was during Christmas of 2003 when Bennett Levin and his wife found themselves talking and worrying about the wounded soldiers at the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Bethesda, Md., and at the nearby Bethesda Naval Hospital. Their wish was that they could do something meaningful, something really grand, for the soldiers who had lost limbs, their eyesight, and far worse. As ... (click for more)

Villavic, Henderson Win Scenic City Half-Marathon Titles

(Complete results will be posted later today for both races) It was just a little bit nippy at Finley Stadium for Saturday morning’s running of the Scenic City Half-Marathon and 5K, but it was probably just about perfect for those who decided to compete. Cristian Villavic, a 42-year-old professional runner from Nicaragua who is currently living in Manchester with his coach, ... (click for more)

UTC Lady Mocs Run Past ETSU , 64-42

It was Senior Day Saturday afternoon for Ka'Vonne Towns and the UTC senior walked off the  McKenzie Arena floor for the last time with a basket full of memories and points. The Lilburn, Ga. native totaled 14 points and four rebounds as the Lady Mocs ran past visiting East Tenn. State, 64-42, in a Southern Conference women's basketball game. Ranked No.18 and ... (click for more)