Indian River School Board hearing Tuesday to decide teacher’s fate

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — School Board members will decide Tuesday whether to terminate longtime district elementary school teacher Kathleen McCarthy for cause.School Superintendent Fran Adams recommended McCarthy be fired in an April 29 letter to the teacher. Adams said in the letter the teacher reported to work on April 5 under the influence of alcohol.
“My recommendation that you be discharged from employment is based on the fact that your acts or omissions disqualify you from being employed in the district,” wrote Adams.

In the incidence, Adams said McCarthy’s behavior was reported to Principal Mark Dugan, who immediately removed students from McCarthy’s classroom.
“Once these students were removed, you admitted you were drunk and that you were specifically rebelling against the principal,” Adams wrote.
Among the various infractions noted by Adams, McCarthy’s actions constitute “misconduct in office” by “failing to exercise the best professional judgment around students.” She also failed “to make a reasonable effort to protect students from conditions harmful to learning and/or students’ mental health and/or physical health and/or safety.”

McCarthy could not be reached for comment. District officials were not available for comment.She has a right to request a hearing to challenge her termination under both school board policy and state statute. The hearing would take place either before the School Board or an administrative law judge assigned by the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings.

McCarthy was hired by the Indian River School District on Aug. 17, 1987. She served as a teacher at Sebastian Elementary School and joined the staff of Treasure Coast Elementary School in 2006. She is a resident of Sebastian.

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