Former Dobyns-Bennett teacher charged for giving students alcohol

Rain Smith • Oct 29, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Gatlinburg police have charged a former Dobyns-Bennett High School teacher with four counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Greg Wright, a math teacher at the school for five years, resigned Sept. 10. At that time Kingsport police were investigating claims he provided alcohol to students, but passed the information to Gatlinburg police after learning the alleged incident occurred in their jurisdiction.

According to Gatlinburg Police Department Detective Tim Williams, the alleged incident occurred July 30 at a rental cabin. The trip was not school sponsored, but at least four Dobyns-Bennett students were apparently under Wright’s supervision

The counts of providing alcohol to minors is a misdemeanor. According to Williams, each count is punishable through fines and probation, or a maximum of 11 months and 29 days in jail.

Wright's court date is set for Nov. 26 in Sevier County General Sessions Court.

Wright was embroiled in another controversy during his service at Dobyns-Bennett. In April 2006 the Kingsport 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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