Ohio teacher fired for 'public humiliation' after scolding student bullying other children


Nicole LeMire was fired by the school board Thursday.

Glen Oak Elementary School teacher told the Olentangy school board she'd fight to keep her job after a split board voted Thursday, May 14, to terminate her contract over bullying accusations.

Board members Roger Bartz, Dave King and Kevin O'Brien voted to suspend fifth-grade teacher Nicole LeMire without pay pending the final termination of her contract. Board member Julie Wagner Feasel voted against the measure, and board member Adam White was absent.

The board's action led to tears from parents and students who supported LeMire, along with shouts demanding answers about the decision.

According to the resolution the board passed, LeMire on April 14 asked students in her class to take turns saying how another student had misbehaved "and/or why (the student) was annoying or had no friends."

The resolution also states that LeMire disclosed confidential information about the student to a latchkey program employee. According to the document, LeMire received previous unpaid suspensions in June and December 2014 for "missed deadlines" and "poor communication."

LeMire, who has hired an attorney, said the district's accusations were "100 percent false."

"Indirectly, I am being considered for termination because of a single question I asked a student: 'Do you realize how your words and actions are hurting your friends?'" she said.

LeMire said she was not publicly shaming the student but was using the incident as a "sincere, teachable moment" for her students. She said her actions were in line with the district's policies on bullying.

LeMire said officials in Glen Oak's administration were using the incident as a pretense for firing her.

Parent Beth Osterholt said the student LeMire is accused of bullying had attacked her son prior to the incident. Osterholt said LeMire should be commended for being a force against bullying in the school.

"I know that my son needed to be stood up for, and (LeMire) stood up for him," Osterholt said.

Parent Thomas Sweeney said he sees terminating LeMire's contract as a big mistake.

"There's so many future children that she (would) influence in a positive manner," Sweeney said. "Anything that she does, she is always motivated to improve the lives of the children."

Although public comment at the meeting uniformly was in support of LeMire, O'Brien said his vote reflected both the comments and what he had learned in a closed-door executive session regarding the situation.

"We've got to act on everything we've been presented with," he said.

Feasel said, "I'm allowed to vote the way I feel," but she declined further comment on why she voted against initiating the termination process.

LeMire has 10 days after the vote to file a written demand for an appeal hearing before the board or a referee.