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Teacher’s Termination For Academic Fraud Upheld

In the case of Bellourdo v. Jefferson Township Local School Dist. Bd. of Edn., 2016-Ohio-1265, a teacher appealed her termination for academic fraud. In making the termination decision, the school board rejected the referee’s recommendation to reinstate the teacher.

The court agreed with the board’s decision to terminate the teacher, finding that the referee ignored evidence which established that the teacher committed academic fraud by (1) providing students with lists of words from a test designed to assess the students’ vocabulary and reading levels and (2) administering additional practice tests prior to the final assessment.

This case provides significant guidance for school boards when considering a referee’s recommendation regarding termination. As the court recognized in this case, a referee’s recommendation should be given considerable weight.  However, the responsibility for making the ultimate decision whether to terminate belongs to the school board. It is the school board’s right and duty to make an independent determination regarding termination.

To read this case, please click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and Patrick Vrobel

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