Claiborne County teachers off the job amid drug allegations

Claiborne County teachers off the job amid drug allegations

Posted:
Julie Green (source: Claiborne County School System) Julie Green (source: Claiborne County School System)
Dustin Hansard  (source: Claiborne County School System) Dustin Hansard (source: Claiborne County School System)

By ERICA ESTEP
6 News Anchor/Reporter

TAZEWELL (WATE) -- Two Claiborne County teachers were suspended on suspicion of drug use within the last two weeks. Now concerned parents are asking questions while school officials try to sort out the details.

Claiborne High School Spanish teacher Julie Green was suspended after school officials confirmed she failed a drug test ordered by the state Department of Children's Services (DCS). Green has since resigned.

Just days before that, school officials say math and special education teacher Dustin Hansard was suspended because he refused to take a drug test.

Veteran school board member and family physician, Dr. Roy Ellis, says he sympathizes with concerned parents who want to know what the school board is doing about the allegations.

"I don't want druggies in my school teaching these youngins," Dr. Ellis says. "You try to get drugs out of the school."

When asked about the two teachers under investigation, Dr. Ellis said, "If they're found guilty, they have positive drug screens, they should be expelled, terminated."

An official with DCS says the agency began investigating Julie Green on a case un-related to the school. 

When investigators had Green take a drug test and discovered she was a teacher, they reported their findings to the school system. There are no criminal charges against her at this time.

Dustin Hansard is on indefinite leave from Claiborne High School and an investigation continues.

The assistant to the director of Claiborne County Schools, Trent Williams, says officials' hands are tied unless they have suspicions to prompt a drug test.

"The law does not allow us to random drug test teachers and I don't know that all parents realize that," Williams says.

He also says they take every allegation seriously, investigate thoroughly and do the right thing. "Ninety-nine percent or higher of our teachers are good teachers, good instructors, good role models for our students."

Dr. Ellis hopes those teachers who don't follow the rules, get this message, "Don't do drugs. Say no, just like we tell our children. Don't do it. If you do, you're going to get caught eventually. Then you won't have a job."

He says he'll suggest that the school board re-evaluate its policies to see if anything more can be done.

All Tennessee teachers must submit to background checks by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and drug testing before they're hired. 

After that, their direct supervisor must have a reasonable suspicion to ask them to take a drug test, but the teacher doesn't have to cooperate.

Last year, the Claiborne County School System was made aware of a teacher who had her nursing license suspended amid allegations she took drugs from her other job at the Claiborne County Hospital.

She's still a vocational teacher at Claiborne High School. According to state documents, she admitted taking prescription pain pills from the hospital, without authorization, for her own personal use.

The teacher is on probation with the Tennessee State Board of Nursing and was required to undergo counseling.

No criminal charges have been filed against her and for that reason, school officials say they can't take any further action.

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