Kingsport Times News Friday, October 24, 2014
Local News

April 27th, 2007 12:00 am by John Thompson



Barbara Cole protests in front of the Carter County School System’s Central Office building on Thursday. Tony Duncan photo.


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A mother is picketing the Carter County School System’s Central Office this week, protesting the lack of disciplinary action taken against a teacher she says has acted inappropriately toward her daughter.



“I am a parent and I want to protect my child,” Barbara Cole said Thursday as she waved a cardboard sign at passing motorists.



Cole did not identify herself and would not divulge the name of the teacher, but she said she first complained to the school system about the behavior in November.



The Johnson City Press learned from other sources that the accused teacher is former Hampton High School boys basketball coach Mark McClain, who teaches at a different school. McClain stepped down from his post at the end of this season. McClain is the son of Board of Education Chairman Bobby McClain.



After her earlier complaints, Cole said she was told the teacher had been given a verbal reprimand and told not to have any contact with her daughter by any means. Cole said she wanted to check out his personnel file to make sure the reprimand was there, but said she has not been permitted to examine the record. Cole said the teacher showed his arrogance of authority by once again coming to her daughter’s school this week.



She said McClain has also recently given her daughter gifts. One of the gifts was a small Ty Bear holding a bouquet of flowers. It had an attached card that said “because I would like you to be just as happy as you make me, I brought this pretty bouquet so it will brighten your day.”



“I am not just concerned for my child but every child,” Cole said. “He has shown himself to be insubordinate and defiant.”



After complaining to the school system, Cole also went to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, where she talked to Investigator Randy Bowers. Bowers began an investigation and also put her in contact with the district attorney general’s office.



“This protest is not something I had planned to do. I tried to handle this in a professional manner, but I want my daughter to be safe and if I have to stand out here for a month, I will.”



Director of Schools Dallas Williams said he was sympathetic with Cole’s fears.



“I understand the mother’s concern, but at the same time, I have to make difficult decisions that affect employees,” Williams said.



Because McClain is a tenured teacher, Williams said he needs facts before deciding on whether he has done anything wrong and whether to dismiss or discipline him. Williams said there are two ongoing investigations and he will make his decision based on their results. One is by the sheriff’s department and the second is by the state Department of Children’s Services.



He has been told he should get the results next week.



This is the second time that the sheriff’s department has investigated McClain. Earlier this year, the department looked into Cole’s earlier complaints and said it found no evidence of criminal misconduct.ELIZABETHTON — A mother is picketing the Carter County School System’s Central Office this week, protesting the lack of disciplinary action taken against a teacher she says has acted inappropriately toward her daughter.



“I am a parent and I want to protect my child,” Barbara Cole said Thursday as she waved a cardboard sign at passing motorists.



Cole did not identify herself and would not divulge the name of the teacher, but she said she first complained to the school system about the behavior in November.



The Johnson City Press learned from other sources that the accused teacher is former Hampton High School boys basketball coach Mark McClain, who teaches at a different school. McClain stepped down from his post at the end of this season. McClain is the son of Board of Education Chairman Bobby McClain.



After her earlier complaints, Cole said she was told the teacher had been given a verbal reprimand and told not to have any contact with her daughter by any means. Cole said she wanted to check out his personnel file to make sure the reprimand was there, but said she has not been permitted to examine the record. Cole said the teacher showed his arrogance of authority by once again coming to her daughter’s school this week.



She said McClain has also recently given her daughter gifts. One of the gifts was a small Ty Bear holding a bouquet of flowers. It had an attached card that said “because I would like you to be just as happy as you make me, I brought this pretty bouquet so it will brighten your day.”



“I am not just concerned for my child but every child,” Cole said. “He has shown himself to be insubordinate and defiant.”



After complaining to the school system, Cole also went to the Carter County Sheriff’s Department, where she talked to Investigator Randy Bowers. Bowers began an investigation and also put her in contact with the district attorney general’s office.



“This protest is not something I had planned to do. I tried to handle this in a professional manner, but I want my daughter to be safe and if I have to stand out here for a month, I will.”



Director of Schools Dallas Williams said he was sympathetic with Cole’s fears.



“I understand the mother’s concern, but at the same time, I have to make difficult decisions that affect employees,” Williams said.



Because McClain is a tenured teacher, Williams said he needs facts before deciding on whether he has done anything wrong and whether to dismiss or discipline him. Williams said there are two ongoing investigations and he will make his decision based on their results. One is by the sheriff’s department and the second is by the state Department of Children’s Services.



He has been told he should get the results next week.




This is the second time that the sheriff’s department has investigated McClain. Earlier this year, the department looked into Cole’s earlier complaints and said it found no evidence of criminal misconduct.



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