County BOE suspends Munford High teachers
by JONATHAN GRASS
Dec 01, 2009 | 3434 views |  4 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TALLADEGA COUNTY — Munford High School’s vocational agriculture teacher, Keith Oglesby, was issued a seven-day suspension during a called hearing by the Talladega County Schools Board of Education on Tuesday.

Oglesby was suspended for violating the school’s “hands-off” policy in dealing with a student. The incident occurred when he escorted a student from his classroom to the principal’s office.

During the hearing Bill Rasco, attorney for BOE, presented evidence in the form of a letter outlining the incident in question as well as previous letters pertaining to Oglesby’s violations of conduct policies in the past.

Rasco presented a letter written by Oglesby that explained the situation while Munford High School principal Judson Warlick testified about what happened.

It was agreed that in October, Oglesby grabbed a student by the arm at the end of class following a disagreement and led him down the hall that way.

Oglesby said the disagreement came about when a student went into the classroom without permission before the rest of the class returned from its outdoor lesson. He said when he confronted the student about this, the young man was argumentative and also threatened to report that Oglesby had sent two students into the classroom alone.

The alleged threat was intended to bring up a violation of the school’s policy against leaving students unattended.

Oglesby felt this warranted discipline and asked the student to meet with him at the principal’s office.

The student allegedly defied him and said he would not stay due to it being the end of the school day and he had to be somewhere else. Oglesby responded by taking hold of the student to get him to the office.

He allegedly held him by the arm, but Oglesby said he only held onto his shirt.

Oglesby said before he did this he told the student he was about to take hold off his sleeve and lead him to the office.

Warlick said students had reported that while escorting the student down the hall, Oglesby shoved him into a wall and pushed him through the door.

Oglesby admitted grabbing the student but denied manhandling him. He also denied he used any profanity during the incident, which is another school violation.

Oglesby said he grabbed the student because he thought the student would leave on his own without going to the principal’s office, which he believed could be a liability for the school.

He said he thought students were the school’s responsibility during school hours, so he was protecting both the school and the young man.

Warlick said the situation did not warrant physical contact to keep the student in place and that a write-up of the student would have been preferred. He called escorting the student “unnecessary.”

Oglesby has been on administrative leave since this incident.

His lawyer, Bill Miller, said the student’s mother had made no complaint against Oglesby.

Oglesby said he was aware of the school’s hands-off policy with students. He said he believed that to mean “don’t hit a child, don’t punch a child, don’t pinch a child.”

Rasco presented other letters citing previous incidents where Oglesby allegedly placed his hands on students, acted threatening or used profanity toward them.

Warlick said Oglesby has previously acted threatening toward him as well.

Oglesby denied these incidents of threats and profanity.

“I’ve never threatened anyone in my life, and I think my record proves that,” he said.

One situation that was brought up concerned him tapping a student on the head with a ruler. Oglesby said he was merely trying to coerce the student into answering a question correctly. He said Warlick had determined it was not done in anger.

One of Miller’s principal arguments in Oglesby’s defense is that only one of the incidents brought up occurred before Warlick took the position of principal.

Warlick denied he had any type of vendetta against the teacher.

After an executive session to discuss the issue, the board voted unanimously on a seven-day suspension without pay.

The suspension will not go into effect immediately. First, the board will send Oglesby a formal letter of the recommendation.

After this, Oglesby will have 15 days to file notice of contesting the decision. The suspension will go into effect if he does not file such a motion or if such arbitration does not overturn the board’s decision.

In education disciplinary matters, the accused have the option of having their hearings public or private. Oglesby opted to have his public.