The Washington County Board of Education unanimously voted Thursday to support the dismissal of a county special education teacher on a variety of charges, including filing false information, breaching student privacy and requesting her peers to falsify documents.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes said Valerie Walling, who taught special education at West View Elementary and Grandview Elementary schools, has been suspended without pay.
Walling has taught in the county school system for about 10 or 11 years.
According to documents filed by Dykes, Walling was charged with seven separate charges, each falling under categories relating to conduct unbecoming a member of the teaching profession, incompetence, inefficiency, insubordination and neglect of duty.
Walling was charged with filing false information, breach of student privacy, failure to properly complete Individualized Education Program documents, requesting peers to falsely document information, failure to provide services, failure to schedule meetings in an appropriate manner and loss of classroom control.
While at Grandview Elementary during the 2010-11 school year, Walling allegedly filed that she had held IEP meetings and completed students’ IEP paperwork on two separate occasions when no meeting was held, according to the documents.
Walling allegedly did the same the thing while at West View Elementary during the 2011-12 school year, in addition to falsely documenting that IEP meeting invitations were sent home to parents when they were never created.
Filing false IEP information could result in the school system receiving inappropriate federal and state funding.
“Finalizing IEP documents and posting them on the state’s website representing that a meeting was held regarding the IEP, when in fact no meeting was held, denies students and parents their right to attend a meeting regarding the child’s IEP,” the charges read.
The breach of student privacy charge stems from Walling allegedly discussing confidential information about specific special education students with the parent of another special education student.
According to the documents, the conversations occurred by telephone on multiple occasions, violating Tennessee code, the Family Educational and Right to Privacy Act, the “Teacher Code of Ethics” and other regulations.
Walling was charged with failing to properly complete IEP documents by allegedly finalizing documents with “multiple, significant errors” during the 2011-12 school year. Those errors range from not having teachers in attendance at IEP meetings, not holding any IEP meetings and not providing necessary signatures.
The charges state that Walling continued to ignore directions following instruction on how to properly complete IEP forms, resulting in further errors.
Walling allegedly attempted to get the principal and/or school IEP team members to sign IEP documents on three separate occasions indicating they had attended the meetings, which were never held, resulting in the charge of requesting peers to falsely document information.
The remaining three charges stem from Walling allegedly not providing required services as set out on a student’s IEP, failing to document scheduling of IEP meetings for nine of 12 students, and failing to maintain proper control of students and classroom discipline at West View Elementary during the 2011-12 school year, “resulting in appropriate instruction of students,” according to documents.
Following the board’s vote to support the dismissal, Walling has 30 days to begin the appeals process, which will then be heard by a hearing officer.