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Teacher fights to get job back

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Updated: 11/06/2013 11:54 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Southside Estates Elementary may be proud to call one of its own "Teacher of the Year" but one of its other educators is getting slammed for her bad behavior.

"I think it's going to be a whole lot of 'hell-raising'," said parent Earnesta Carter.

The parents that Action News spoke with are furious that former Duval County teacher Donna James could get her job back.

According to documents that Action News obtained from the Duval County School Board, James was fired last school year for failing to supervise her students on at least four different occasions.

During one of those lapses, a student reportedly stabbed a classmate. James is also accused of failing to prevent elementary-age students from engaging in sexual acts.

"I think that's insane," said parent Valerie Brisbon.

We called James to get her side of the story but spoke with her husband instead. They had no comment for now, but we do know a local judge is recommending the school district drop the charges and allow James back in the classroom.

Parents we spoke to said if she's back in the class their little ones won't be.

"I'm sorry my child wouldn't be allowed back in that school," said Alice Bates.

Action News reached out to James' attorney, but he has not returned our calls.
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hlippes - 11/7/2013 11:46 AM
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I am the attorney for Mrs. James. I did not receive a message from Ms. Gomez. Had she called and left a message as she claims in her story I would have returned her call. Ms. Gomez said was holding the Judge's opinion in her hand during her report. The charges against Mrs. James are false. You failed to mention that in his 20 page detailed opinion the Judge found that Mrs. James was "falsely accused" (paragraph 45 of the opinion). You failed to mention his finding that the school board's conclusion was "mere conjecture based upon fallacious premises" (paragraph 46 of the opinion). Mrs. James has been a teacher at Southside Estates for 17 years. I introduced into evidence every annual evaluation in Mrs. James employment file. You failed to mention that there wasn't a single assessment of less than satisfactory in even a single assessment category (including classroom management) in even one evaluation in her entire employment file. In the future, I hope you will place more importance on reporting the truth. Your clear disregard for the truth and willingness to destroy the reputation of a dedicated teacher who was "FALSELY ACCUSED" (the Judge's exact words)just so you can sensationalize a story is irresponsible and unfortunate.
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