Dobyns-Bennett teacher resigns amidst second brush with trouble; police investigate claims of providing alcohol to minors

Rain Smith • Sep 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Kingsport City Schools accepted the resignation of a Dobyns-Bennett High School teacher Wednesday, while police are investigating if he provided alcohol to minors.

According to School Community Relations Coordinator Amy Greear, the school system was conducting an investigation on Greg Wright at the time of his resignation, which is effective immediately. He had taught math at Dobyns-Bennett High School for five years.

Meanwhile, rumors that Wright provided alcohol to students of the school also caught the attention of Kingsport Police. According to Lt. Ralph Cline, KPD began an investigation earlier this week.

He says police learned the alleged incident occurred in Gatlinburg or Sevier County during the early part of August. It was not a school sponsored trip, but several Dobyns-Bennett students were apparently under Wright’s supervision.

The number of minors involved, or whether they were students in upcoming or past Wright classes, is not known, Cline said.

Since the alleged criminal offenses against Wright occurred outside of Kingsport, the Kingsport Police Department is in the process of handing the investigation over to other authorities.

Depending on where the incident is determined to have occurred, either the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department or Gatlinburg Police will receive information KPD has collected.

Kingsport schools officials declined further comment on Wright’s resignation and the events leading up to it, citing it is a personnel matter.

This is not the first controversy Wright has met during his career at Dobyns-Bennett.

In April 2006 the Board of Education declined to approve tenure for Wright, who had taught at the high school for three years. Then BOE President Pat Turner said parents “had concerns” about Wright that needed to be addressed, but refused to elaborate.

The possibility of Wright being let go resulted in a group of about 85 students and parents rallying to his support. Before the BOE they lauded his dedication, skills as a teacher, and positive influence at Dobyns-Bennett.

The BOE unanimously approved his tenure in May 2006.

Board members never made public what concerns they had about the teacher — or what information was obtained that resolved the situation.

In a 2006 letter to the Times-News thanking his supporters, Wright wrote: “I am not skilled to understand all that God has planned for my life, but I know that he does have a plan and will lead me to the best possible situation. I will continue to work as hard as I have and do my best to be the best teacher I can be.”

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