Second teacher investigated for political remarks
Cumberland County School officials say they are investigating a second teacher's allegedly making partisan remarks. The middle-school teacher is accused of disparaging President-elect Obama.
Parent Tenesia Jackson filed a complaint alleging that Melissa Smith, a teacher at Mac Williams Middle School, made disparaging comments about President-elect Barack Obama on Nov. 6, school-system spokeswoman Wanda McPhaul said.
In the complaint, Jackson said that her 11-year-old daughter and other students in Smith's social-studies class had talked about their excitement at Obama's election.
The complaint alleges that Smith told students not to be upset if their parents' tax dollars went to "a 13-year-old girl for an abortion." McPhaul said the complaint also accuses Smith of posing hypothetical questions, including: If you were a waitress, how would feel if your customer gave your tip to a homeless person who had an Obama sign?
Superintendent William Harrison and Principal Donna Hancock are investigating and will take appropriate action, McPhaul said. One parent complained about Smith's comments in class that day.
McPhaul has taught in Cumberland schools for 6½ years.
The school system asked a lawyer to determine what disciplinary action it could take in the case of Mary McArthur Elementary School teacher Diatha Harris, into whose actions officials opened an investigation Nov. 7.
Harris has retained a lawyer to fight to keep her job, McPhaul said. She remained employed by the school system and was still teaching at McArthur on Thursday.