A Washington County special education teacher has been suspended pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate comments and behavior in class, a school district official confirmed.
“We have suspended a special education teacher at Jonesborough Middle School. They’re suspended pending an investigation,” Assistant Director of Schools James Murphy said Wednesday.
The suspension was handed to the teacher --— identified by two parents as Larry Manis — near the end of the teaching day on Wednesday, Murphy said.
“That’s pretty well all we can say about it right now,” he said.
Murphy declined to identify the teacher, his length of service or the allegations.
“It’s not a new teacher at all,” he said.
Murphy said complaints from parents are taken seriously and, if warranted, can result in a teacher’s suspension while the situation is investigated.
“If a parent’s complaint is of a nature that it causes us concern as far as unprofessional or criminal activity, we’re going to immediately do something,” Murphy said.
According to two parents — Daniel Stiel and Cindy Freeman — who contacted the Johnson City Press, Manis struck their children and made comments telling the students they were going to end up in prison and would be subjected to sexual assaults.
Stiel and Freeman both said they filed reports with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as well.
“I went to pick him up from school and got a report that he’d been written up and had three days suspension,” because he was “talking, swearing, aggressively yelling,” Stiel said.
“That’s not my boy,” he said.
“(Manis) basically put on there that he’s had conferences with us, but he has not,” Stiel said.
“He also called the whole class a bunch of queers,” Stiel said. Other allegations include Manis slapping students on the head and calling them “dipstick.”
Murphy said most allegations from parents don’t rise to this level, but the school system always investigates claims of unprofessional actions.
Messages left for Manis on his cell phone were not returned Wednesday.