Lee County Schools dismiss Saltillo teacher

TUPELO – The Lee County School district on Tuesday dismissed the Saltillo High School teacher who was arrested on charges of sexual battery.
School board members also began work on a new plan to clarify inappropriate interaction between students and staff.
Hope Johns, an English teacher at Saltillo High School, was suspended from the school earlier this month because she had sent inappropriate text messages to a male student at the school.
The suspension came prior to her arrest on three counts of sexual battery based on alleged off-campus incidents with the student, whom she was tutoring.
The board dismissed Johns at its regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday after she waived her earlier request for a hearing on her status.
Superintendent Mike Scott said he could not comment on the dismissal because it involved personnel.
With two teachers in the district having been disciplined for sending inappropriate text messages, the board also passed its first approval of a staff-student non-fraternization plan.
The plan must be approved a second time at the next school board meeting before it takes effect.
“The board was in full agreement that this policy is needed in the district and we are very excited about putting it in place,” school board president Sherry Mask said.
The plan would prohibit any sexual relationship, contact or “sexually nuanced behavior or communication” between a staff member and a student enrolled in the school system.
The policy applies “whether or not the student welcomes or reciprocates the attention.”
The policy also prohibits:
• Staff-sponsored parties attended by students, unless the parties are part of a school’s extracurricular program and are properly supervised.
• Staff fraternization with students except on school-related issues.
• Staff members’ participation in any student blogs.
• The access of social networking Web sites for individual use during school hours.
• The posting by staff of any information on such sites that might disrupt classroom activity, as determined by the superintendent.
• Staff members from dating students.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

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