Hawkins school board tells Clinch School teacher he has 30 days to appeal decision

Jeff Bobo • Jul 13, 2007 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE - The Hawkins County Board of Education voted 5-0 Thursday to fire tenured Clinch School teacher and basketball coach Mike Noel, who was charged last month with sex crimes against two of his players.

Noel, 36, 718 Hollis St., Kingsport, will receive a registered letter informing him of the board's actions, after which he has 30 days to file an appeal and defend himself against the "Charges for Dismissal" that were certified by the board Thursday evening.

Director of Schools Charlotte Britton told the Times-News prior to Thursday's BOE meeting that she had recently received a letter from Noel's attorney rescinding an earlier resignation reportedly made by Noel via telephone message.

Noel was arrested by Kingsport police June 28 on four charges related to alleged sex crimes involving two members of the Clinch School basketball team that Noel coached.

Those crimes were alleged to have occurred the weekend of June 16-18 at Noel's Kingsport home, as well as in June 2006.

The day he was arrested, Noel reportedly left a telephone message for Clinch School Principal Linda Long stating that he was resigning from his teaching post and that Long "shouldn't believe everything that she hears."

But the resignation isn't official until it is received in writing. When the system received notice that Noel wouldn't be resigning, the board took the action Thursday to fire him.

"With the board's action tonight, Mr. Noel is no longer a teacher in the Hawkins County school system," Britton said after the meeting. "He does have the right to appeal within 30 days, at which time a public hearing would be held before the board, and Mr. Noel could present any evidence he sees fit to refute these charges."

The "Charges for Dismissal" presented to the BOE Thursday related to the four charges placed by the Kingsport Police Department for alleged sex crimes that took place at Noel's home during a sleepover for his basketball players. There were also charges placed by the BOE related to allegations of improper sexual conduct with players at school and near the school that the Hawkins County Sheriff's Department is currently investigating.

The Kingsport crimes allegedly involved games of strip poker.

Kingsport police said Noel gave a statement admitting to the allegations that occurred at his home.

Hawkins County Sheriff Roger Christian told the Times-News he will present evidence from his department's investigation to Attorney General Berkeley Bell, who will decide the next course of action.

Noel has been arraigned in Kingsport on charges including aggravated sexual battery, sexual battery by an authority figure, solicitation of sexual exploitation by a minor, and attempt to commit especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. He is currently free on $50,000 bond awaiting his next court date.

Noel taught at Clinch School for 13 years.

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