MANSFIELD -- Opening statements were made Tuesday for the appeal on assistant principal Fuzzie Davis' termination from the Mansfield School District.
Davis was terminated at the April 17, 2018 Mansfield School Board meeting. That action came after she and the Mansfield Senior High principal were placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 25.
Set at the Raemelton building, the referee said the hearing will determine a recommendation to the school board members to terminate or not.
"The issues presented and actions presented (throughout the hearing) will show enough reasons to terminate Fuzzie Davis," said Sherry Massi, the Mansfield School District's attorney. "The evidence and testimony in this case will essentially demonstrate this began when a high school principal was asked why a teacher had been on administrative leave.
"The student asked (Scott Musser) why and Musser advised the student he could not discuss the matter. The student gave his beliefs as to why the teacher was not present."
The student told Musser about inappropriate conversations the teacher had had with the student and others, Massi said.
"Shocked and surprised those things were said, Mr. Musser told his colleagues and they began investigating."
Massi said during the investigation into the incident, former assistant superintendent Mark Manley discovered Davis and Hernandez learned of the events but believed they failed their duty as mandatory reporters to tell either Mansfield Police or Richland County Children's Services.
Beverly Farlow, of Farlow & Associates, is representing Davis. During her opening statement, she told the referee evidence will show a conversation was overheard by a teacher then later the conversation was confirmed by two students and she never reported it.
According to Farlow, Davis was not trained in how to handle abuse or sexual violence cases. She said only after Davis' termination were faculty given direction in how to report such behavior to Richland County Children Services.
Farlow also said there is a document which shows that Manley reported the incident to Children Services and the agency determined the case was not a reportable situation.
"This matter comes from stupidly vulgar language from a Mansfield City Schools employee. He was right to be fired," Farlow said. "This is not about that teacher. This is about the fallout of those who suffered from that.
"This is not a good and just cause for the firing of Ms. Davis."