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

BOWMAN, DEANGELO DEMON  2300 WILSON ST APT 7M CHATTANOOGA, 37406  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga IMPROPER PARKING DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA POSSESSING A FIREARM WITH INTENT TO GO ARMED --- BROWN, KELLY MICHELLE  300 W MIDVALE AVE APT 37 ... (click for more)

Man Injured In Drive-By Shooting On Judson Lane

A man was injured Monday night in a drive-by shooting on Judson Lane. At approximately 6:36 p.m., Chattanooga Police responded to the report of shots fired near the 2500 block of Judson Lane. During that investigation a person suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the right forearm arrived at a local hospital. ·          ... (click for more)

Why Is The City Diverting Federal Transportation Funds From Real Need?

The city of Chattanooga and CBL, owner of Hamilton Place Mall, would have the mass of taxpayers believe that improving mall access from the interstate is not impacting us financially.   Namely, CBL has committed to fund the city’s match of $8 million, so they will receive $32 million in Federal Transportation Funds that are allocated annually to local jurisdictions through ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Very Silly Apology

It didn’t get a lot of attention, as well it should not have, but when I heard Japanese giant Mitsubishi was offered an apology for heinous war crimes that took place during World War II, I thought it was an ill-conceived publicity stunt. But, no, in a solemn ceremony last month hosted by the Museum of Tolerance at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, that is exactly what ... (click for more)

NPSL Championship To Be Played In Chattanooga

It's Chattanooga FC taking on the New York Cosmos B for the National Premier Soccer League’s national championship and the Scenic City's Finley Stadium is the site Saturday, August 8 at 7:30 p.m. Thanks to a 9,000 plus crowd at Chattanooga's 3-0 semifinal win against the Indiana Fire, the Tennessee team broke the league’s previous record of 8,878, which was ... (click for more)

Jones Press Conference Kicks Off Vols' Preseason

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Butch Jones held his preseason football press conference on Monday at Neyland Stadium. Jones heads into his third season with visible enthusiasm after the Vols finished off the 2014 season with an impressive win over Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, following that up with another nationally ranked recruiting class. "In terms of our football team, we ... (click for more)