Heated Debate Over Teacher Placed on Leave

Her future is on the line amidst rumblings of racism and questions of competence.

With a vote of three to two, School Board members decided to let Joseph wait until next week pending the outcome of an evaluation before making their final decision to bring her back to the classroom.

Franklin County teacher Alice Joseph will have to wait a few more days before she knows if she can return to her 6th grade students.

Adriane Joseph, her daughter, says, "They're hurting. They call her all of the time and tell her that they miss her, but she tells them to hang in there and that everything is going to be alright."

Board members voted to wait for the results of a doctor's evaluation which Joseph has to take in response to statements she made about her prescription drug use.

Rich Grady, a spokesperson for Joseph, says in 2002 she was injured on the job and began taking medication for her injury, but Grady says Joseph made a misstatement to school administration about the monthly dosage she was taking, prompting an investigation and her placement on leave.

Robert Davis, a friend of Joseph, says, "There is no reason for her to have been taking out of that classroom. There is nothing as far a professional performance, no reason for her to be out to of the classroom."

On January 15, Joseph is scheduled for her evaluation.

Holly Dincman, the attorney for the school superintendent, says, "Superintendent Gander will review that. She will then make a recommendation to the board. If no disciplinary action is warranted Mrs. Joseph will be placed back in the classroom."

Jo Ann Gander, superintendent of schools, says she is upset with the allegations that her decision to place Joseph on leave was racially motivated.

Joseph has been with Chapman Elementary for 29 years. She has been on temporary paid leave since January 3.

If that evaluation comes back in Joseph's favor, she could be back in the classroom as early as next week. Officials say they won't wait until the next School Board meeting to make that decision.