The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Clayton County schools are investigating charges a teacher threatened a student after questioning the teen’s sexuality.
Randolph Forde, a teacher at Mundy’s Mill High School, remains on administrative leave with pay, schools spokesman Charles White said Monday.
Jail records show Forde was arrested last month of charges of terrorist threats and released on a $10,000 bond.
School officials postponed the employment hearing scheduled on Tuesday for Forde to face possible disciplinary action, White said, under advice from the district’s attorney that there had been no sufficient prior notice.
“We needed to post notice of the hearing a full 24 hours prior, according to the the (Georgia) Open Meetings Act,” White said late Monday night.
But Terrence Madden, the student’s attorney, said neither he nor his client were informed of the change, and complained that the school district was stalling.
“Nothing has changed as far as evidence,” Madden said. “They had no legitimate reason except that it had gone public.”
The hearing will be rescheduled within the next two weeks, but probably will be after Thanksgiving, said White, who responded to Madden’s complaints: “He can say what he wants to.”
According to the student’s attorney, Forde pulled the 16-year-old student out of class and asked him if he was gay.
“A child’s sexuality is never a teacher’s business,” said Marcia Killebrew, the student’s mother. “I feel like the man was being extremely inappropriate.”
The next day, the teacher got into a verbal altercation in an algebra class, said Madden.
“The teacher threatened to hit him in his ‘f-ing mouth,’” Madden said.
A few days later, Forde asked another student to “put a hit” on the teenager, according to a police report.
“The suspect advised to the witness that he would pay him to kill the victim,” the report states.
The teacher wrote the victim’s name on a note and showed it to another student on the school bus, the report says.
“I have no idea why teacher would want to hurt my son,” Killebrew said. “But all it came after the teachers asked my son if he was gay. For the teacher to ask that, he had to have a motive. That’s not a random question.”
Forde told police he “had no interaction with the witness or the victim, and he never made a statement regarding the victim,” according to the report.
Forde’s attorney, Borquaye Thomas, said the 16-year-old only complained after he got in trouble for another incident.
“The allegation is he made a hit on him, but that was not what was said nor what was intended,” Thomas said. “The student only complained after he was getting suspended.”
Forde asked the student about being gay after he saw the boy dancing inappropriately with another male student in class, Thomas said.
“All of the students knew Mr. Forde was joking,” Thomas said. “The other students said Mr. Forde always plays around with them like that.”
Killebrew, the targeted student’s mother, contacted Clayton County police, who presented the allegations to a magistrate judge. A judge issued an arrest warrant on Oct. 13, according to court records.
The teacher has since been released from jail, but was ordered to stay away from the student.
Killebrew said she took her son out of school for seven days. He returned to class following the arrest.
“He’s really scared. He’s at the point where he trusted the authorities at school and now he is real untrusting,” she said.
Forde waived a preliminary hearing and is waiting for the case to be sent to a grand jury, Madden said.
Forde has been teaching in Clayton since August 2008, White said. He will remain on administrative leave while school officials conduct an investigation.
“We have received a report that allegations were lodged against the teacher by the student’s parent,” White said.
The teacher’s attorney said an internal review by the school system recommends he be suspended without pay for five days and attend training for “inappropriate and unprofessional” interaction with a student. However, the school’s review could not corroborate that Forde put a hit on the teenager, Thomas said.
Killebrew said she will ask the school board on Tuesday to terminate Forde, not just suspend him.
Forde is a special education teacher, according to the schools’ website.
– Staff writer Marcus K. Garner contributed to this story.
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