Note: This story was last updated at 12:05 p.m.
About 200 people turned out at a school board meeting on Wednesday to show support for longtime teacher and track coach Eddie Anderson, who has been suspended without pay pending a police investigation, and to challenge some of the accusations made against him. Some objected to the process used by the school system, saying the reputation of a fantastic teacher has been sullied.
Anderson, an Oak Ridge High School chemistry teacher hired in 1979, was suspended without pay on April 30 while the Oak Ridge Police Department investigates an allegation of inappropriate contact with a former student. In the letter announcing the suspension, Oak Ridge Schools Assistant Superintendent Chris Marczak said the allegation was being turned over to the ORPD as a criminal investigation.
No additional details about that allegation have been released. Anderson’s attorney, Dennis Francis, declined to comment last week, and the Oak Ridge Board of Education and Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent’s Office have been advised to not comment until the investigation is complete. City officials have also not commented on the ongoing investigation by the Police Department.
In the meantime, most of the public discussion has focused on an April 11 track meet, the Taco Bell Invitational in South Carolina. School administrators said, among other things, that Anderson knew ahead of time that a hotel the team was going to stay in was “unacceptable and dangerous,” that he did not inform parents of the specifics of the trip and did not answer the phone when they called, and did not double-check student room assignments, which led to a girl entering a boys’ room through an adjoining door and engaging in “inappropriate contact.” [Read more…]