59-Year-Old Teacher Assigned as Hall Monitor

By: Lanetra Bennett
December 16, 2015

QUINCY, Fla. -- A veteran teacher in Gadsden County was re-assigned to what officials say is a non-existent position.

59-year-old Jonnie Clarke was called into the principal's office. Ronte Harris, the president of the Gadsden County Classroom Teachers Association, said it was for a meeting.

Harris says shortly after that meeting, Clarke was taken out of her classroom one day last week, and placed in the hallway.

He says it was because Clarke, who's an art teacher at West Gadsden High School, allegedly complained about the principal.

"I think her being placed in the hallway was just a blatant retaliation. It was for humiliation, and it was bullying. It was just employee bullying. The most important thing is that other employees and other teachers on campus were witness to that, along with the students." Said, Harris.

Superintendent Reginald James says Principal James Mills assigned Clarke as a hallway monitor. "From my vantage point, that was unprofessional," James said.

Superintendent James says the principal felt Clarke was ineffective in the classroom. He says there were several complaints of fighting and disorderly conduct in her class.

James said, "That was his way of saying 'I'm afraid for her to stay in the classroom, that somebody's child's going to get hurt.' It's a legitimate concern. However, we can't use our teachers as hall monitors. We don't want to do that."

Clarke has worked at a number of Gadsden County schools over the past 20 years.

"Her goal is to go back into her classroom and teach," said Harris.

Superintendent James says he told the principal to put Clarke in a more professional role. Clarke is now assigned to the media center.

The superintendent has also directed the administrator to provide Clarke with professional development and classroom management training. Clarke must complete that training before returning to her classroom.

Harris says the teachers union will address the issue further with the school board.

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