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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Former teacher sues CCSC

Monday, September 1, 2008

A former Clay County teacher is suing to get her job back.

Anita M. Miller is petitioning the Clay County Civil Court for a judicial review of her March dismissal by Clay Community School Board of Trustees.

According to court documents filed by Miller's attorney Darrel E. Felling on April 3, Miller wants her Clay Community Schools permanent teaching contract reinstated. The documents also state she wants to be reimbursed for her lost bi-weekly pay of $1,058.26 (approximately 14 pay periods), with all benefits and privileges available prior to her contract cancellation.

On Jan. 13, 2008, Miller, a North Clay Middle School physical education teacher at the time, and Melinda Ellis, a White River Valley Junior/Senior High School science teacher, were questioned after Clay County Sheriff's Deputies responded to an accident report.

After an alleged altercation with deputies, both women were arrested.

Ellis was charged with four class A misdemeanor charges, including possession of marijuana, operating a vehicle while intoxicated, possession of paraphernalia and operating a vehicle with an alcohol content exceeding of .08.

Ellis resigned from her job on Jan. 16 and pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of paraphernalia (the other two charges were dismissed) on May 14, 2008.

However, Miller's criminal case is currently pending in Clay Superior Court. She was formally charged with a class B misdemeanor public intoxication and a class C misdemeanor charge of public nudity. She is scheduled to appear for a jury trial set Dec. 15.

On Jan. 14, 2008, Miller was suspended with pay, following her arrest, through verbal notification from school officials and later she received a letter from Supt. Dan Schroeder that her suspension was effective until further notice.

CCSB held a hearing on Feb. 27, where witnesses, including Miller, testified and evidence was presented.

By a 5-0 vote, Miller was officially released from her contract by the board on March 5, 2008. Dottie King and Steve Grigsby were not present for the vote, which alleged her dismissal was based on "immorality" and/or "other good and just cause" according to court documents.

The petition, filed on Miller's behalf, states she "was prejudiced by the board's decision to terminate her permanent teaching contract and has sustained irreparable harm by her unlawful termination of employment."

According to the documents, no procedure or policy was in place at the time of Miller's dismissal for teachers arrested and charged with misdemeanor(s) although there is a policy in place for felony charges.

Miller's petition questions the fairness of the termination, what the exact definition is for immoral behavior and other causes deemed inappropriate by the school board as grounds for dismissal according to Indiana Code 20-28-7-1.

The law states that an indefinite contract with a permanent teacher may be canceled only for one (1) or more of the following grounds, immorality, insubordination (which means a willful refusal to obey the state school laws or reasonable rules prescribed for the government of the school corporation), neglect of duty, incompetence, justifiable decrease in the number of teaching positions, a conviction for any felony offenses dealing with drugs or sex (IC: 20-28-5-8) or any other good and just cause.

The statute allows the school board, if it finds just cause, to cancel a contract immediately.

According to the same court documents, Miller admitted that her conduct after her arrest was "far from perfect" and that she was "remorseful in her behavior and apologized to the Board ... for the conditions which resulted in her arrest" but that her bad decision should not result in her termination. Miller was willing to accept any "alternative resolution" which could result in participation in alcohol and drug assessment, anger management evaluation, etc.

Court documents state the school board concluded from the testimony given at the February hearing that Miller's actions "offended the morals of the community and set a very bad example to the students of Clay Community Schools."

Although civil proceedings were initially scheduled for Aug. 18, a new date has not been set.

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She's a good role model for our children ~ WHY????

-- Posted by karebabe on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 7:00 AM

My question is to why she would want her job back in this town? Someone who was supposed to be a role model for our children and an educator is now considered a joke around the community. People make mistakes, however in this town its hard to forget them.

-- Posted by My_hometown on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 7:28 AM

My question is to why she would want her job back in this town? Someone who was supposed to be a role model for our children and an educator is now considered a joke around the community. People make mistakes, however in this town its hard to forget them.

-- Posted by My_hometown on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 7:28 AM

come on NUNU, move on with your life. I don't think you would want someone like this teaching your children.

-- Posted by Becki on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 7:45 AM

School Corporation Administrators,

Not that I actually believe you read the online articles, I still am posting this. I have daughters at North Clay, I do not want a woman like this teaching my children. While I am forgiving and understand people make mistakes, in an environment like a school. The behavior she displayed is unacceptable for someone who is supposed to set a higher standard.

Ms. Miller you should see the foolishness of your actions. If you honestly believe that after what you have done that the school corporation would turn the other cheek and just let you walk back in like nothing happened you really do need treatment.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 8:23 AM

School Corporation Administrators,

Not that I actually believe you read the online articles, I still am posting this. I have daughters at North Clay, I do not want a woman like this teaching my children. While I am forgiving and understand people make mistakes, in an environment like a school. The behavior she displayed is unacceptable for someone who is supposed to set a higher standard.

Ms. Miller you should see the foolishness of your actions. If you honestly believe that after what you have done that the school corporation would turn the other cheek and just let you walk back in like nothing happened you really do need treatment.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 8:23 AM

Sorry for the double post.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 8:24 AM

Only in America!

She plead guilty and still was, "suspended with pay"

In my world that is called a vacation.

She made bad choices and now she has to deal with the consequences. She choose a public career that deals with children. You can't tell me she didn't know that if she got caught with drugs that she wouldn't be fired, add on to that the way she behaved with the police.

Miller is willing to accept any "alternative resolution" I'm sure she would enjoy receiving pay without working while she tried to get her life cleaned up. There are things that does not deserve a second chance in your job. This is one of them. When you take on the job as teacher you also take on the job as roll model. What she did to get arrested and how she responded to that arrest, simply ended her privileged in teaching her students here in Clay County.

She needs to get her life cleaned up, and then and only then, try to get her career back on track in another school district. I do not believe it is the tax payers responsibility to pay her to do that. She can find work outside teaching until then.

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 8:59 AM

Completely agree with the postings presented here. I grew up playing sports with "NuNu" and had a lot of respect for her as an athlete. The 'teaching profession' (like many other professions) is one in which, even after you walk out of the classroom .. you are still in the public eye .. still that roll model for our children. Forgiveness is one thing .. I have no problem with forgiveness .. but when careless behavior like this happens .. one must atone for ones actions. The punishment fit the crime in my opinion.

Given the way our children tend to dismiss their behavior (or their parents do) as 'boys/girls will be boys/girls' .. is PRECISELY why this type of legal action should be dismissed and the current termination of her teaching contract enforced.

Sorry, NuNu .. that's life, girl.

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 11:06 AM

embarrassing and ridiculous! get the help you need and do the right thing - seek employment elsewhere!!!!

-- Posted by indygirl.com on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 11:14 AM

You have GOT to be kidding me!

Absolutely UNbelievable!

I have been drunk in my lifetime, I have been angry, and I have been both at the same time once or twice, but I have never sued someone for my mistakes.

Of course, if I had ever done something like getting drunk and dropping my pants in public, I would also move far away and quickly........LOL.

-- Posted by FlyinLion on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 12:37 PM

She shouldn't be allowed to teach anywhere. If you can't live up the job, pick a different path.

-- Posted by teacherswife on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 12:46 PM

We all make mistakes~

I hope she gets her job back, she is a wonderful teacher!

-- Posted by mywords1 on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 12:53 PM


-- Posted by BigCB20 on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 1:05 PM

Do we know the reports of her behaviour were accurate? Do we know the decisions that classified her behavior under "any other good and just cause" were not politically motivated? She hasn't even been pronounced guilty yet. Oh, wait! I guess she has. All of you and all of the school board has pronounced her guilty. So, I guess that stupid little clause in the Constitution for the United State really doesn't mean *ANYTHING*, does it? or maybe the forefathers really did mean GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT.

If thou shalt transgress the law in the court of public opinion thou shalt suffer! Absolutely! Since media never gets anything wrong and no police officers ever do anything politically motived, then I guess thats OK.

All someone has to do to ruin your career in education is accuse you of one of several crimes. You can be exonerated, etc, etc, etc and it won't ever matter. Sometimes the way people operate really sucks.

I'm just saying, if she's guilty, hang it on her. If she's not, you people are committing a great wrong against her and society in general.

-- Posted by TheRider on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 1:08 PM

Hmm. Do we know that just because a tree falls in the woods it makes a noise? Give me a break!

What "politically motivated" the police officers who pulled these two over?? They were drunk? I had no idea the police had so much time on their hands that they could know you and your friends vehicles and lay in wait to pull you over so you'd lose your job!! What a police force we have!

Give me a break! When you're arrested, it isn't because you are doing something RIGHT.

Yes, she WAS a great teacher. Absolutely. She had her shot and she blew it. No one to blame but herself for her actions. The school board, the people with opinions and the police didn't make this choice .. she did.

Is she guilty? Was she drunk? Was she publicly nude? Ask her. A jury of her peers and a judge don't need to 'confirm guilt' here. NuNu will if she's honest with herself.

-- Posted by Emmes on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 1:26 PM


Did you see this part of the article?

Ellis resigned from her job on Jan. 16 and pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of paraphernalia (the other two charges were dismissed) on May 14, 2008.

Isn't that enough to justify a teacher losing their position? I am sort of confused since she resigned why this is even a issue anymore. Seems to be a lot of back-peddling.

As far as I can understand no one is debating if the offense actually happened.

The fact she believes that she,"has sustained irreparable harm by her unlawful termination of employment." simply amazes me. She caused the harm to her career by the personal choices she made.

You can be rest assured that she will get her day in court. I believe parents have every right not wanting her teaching their children at this time. What she already pleaded guilty to shows she makes poor choices and does not consider the safety of others. That person can't be allowed in charge of children.

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 1:35 PM

Ellis isnt the one in question,it Ms Miller

who hasnt admitted or convicted of anything let her have her day in court..she has a good chance of being reinstated, whether I agree with that is another matter..in the basis of a contract you cant fire someone who has a permanent contract under the terms and fire her for a misdemeanor when it takes a felony for automatic termination

-- Posted by dovelw on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 3:04 PM

Thanks for the clarification. I didn't catch the different names.

-- Posted by localgal on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 3:10 PM

This is the way that I look at it. Speaking from a stand point of being where I took care of others children on an 8 hour basis. Society holds you to a higher standard. Do I think that it is right? Well to a certain extent yes and no. Do I think that she needs to have a life outside of school? Yes I will agree with that but choose your actions carefully. With that being said I think that she got what she deserved. Think before you act, driving drunk and public nudity is not something that needs to be overlooked in her position. I as a parent have a hard time with this one. I for one will be someone to speak up about this if she is rehired.


My friend was the one that called the police to report the accident. So it was not like they were just out searching for her. Ellis ran the car in a ditch. My friend called for help. She did not know at the time that anything was wrong with them as far as alcohol or otherwise. She was just reporting an accident. What happeded from there was just a report of what the police saw. Tell me what kind of political motivation is it that you think the police are trying to achieve.

-- Posted by beautiful978 on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 3:12 PM

My children are out of school but I would not want a teacher like this teaching them. Teachers are in the public eye and have quite an influence on our children. What kind of influence has her actions stated? Yes, innocent until proven guilty but she has admitted her guilt so suffer for her actions. She has no place in a class room.

-- Posted by levr.gar on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 4:19 PM

localguy1972... I agree, I don't want her teaching my daughter, this is ridiculous, I choose my friends because they will be role models for my kids but I can't choose a teacher that is resposible for my child everyday an hour or so. I don't want her teaching my girls...and my kids also have never liked her as she favors certain kids and others are just there without a name.

-- Posted by proudmomof2 on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 7:10 PM

I played with NuNu in many sports growing up. I have moved away from the area but I just can't imagine her turning to this. I really respected her as we played sports she was a wonderful athlete. But to do the things that she has done is a total shame. She has ruined her life but I feel she should have thought before she chose the path she did. NuNu clean yourself up and then find a new life. I have children but they are grown but I sure would not want her teaching my children if they were that age. Learn from your mistake and move on. Don't punish the county for demanding money.

-- Posted by candle lover on Tue, Sep 2, 2008, at 7:45 PM

If all she got paid was $1,058.26 every two weeks, why would she want the job back anyway? I know of elementary teachers in the corporation making twice that, or more. I'm surprised she could afford to get that drunk.

-- Posted by bsmom on Wed, Sep 3, 2008, at 8:47 AM

-- Posted by indygirl.com on Wed, Sep 3, 2008, at 12:10 PM

Hold on a second, I can't help but get upset about this, but for different reasons than you might consider.

Miller, who is single and probably has her full coverage insurance paid for by the corporation because she is tenured, wants to be reimbursed for her lost bi-weekly pay of $1,058.26 (approximately 14 pay periods) which equals somewhere around $15,000!!!

Like many other people in this community, I work VERY VERY hard for my $9.50 an hour paycheck that gets cut in half by insurance premiums. I'm lucky to bring home $300 every two weeks!! It's the same for my husband!!

We are Mr and Mrs Nobody in this county and we could break the laws and get arrested and no one would care except our families. We would only cause harm to ourselves. BUT WE DONT!!

She is a public employee whose wages are funded through our tax dollars. Our family and your families are struggling to get by at times and our tax dollars pay her wages.

She is a teacher!! The code of morality and good standing is in place because she is a teacher.

Matter of fact, I believe it should be enforced on any person who holds a position in which they are paid with OUR TAX DOLLARS!

She admitted she got drunk, drove drunk, got involved in some type of accident, got stupid in front of police officers, took a pee in public and then got arrested.

I don't feel sorry for her at all.

Yes, she deserves a second chance in life, everyone does. But not as a teacher of young people who look up to her position for guidance. And she should not BENEFIT from an apparent loophole!!!

-- Posted by Cy on Wed, Sep 3, 2008, at 2:35 PM

We are faced with choices and making wrong ones take away some of them at times. I believe Ms Miller's behavior was recorded by the officers either on scene or at the jail so if she was publicly intoxicated, the proof will be there, as will the testimony of the arresting officers.

What she needs to think about is how her choice affected others, both students and her family members and how her choice now to press this matter is going to continue to cause the issue to be brought up again and again in the press and even in this forum. She needs to remember that though she now has a few less, she is still making choices so she obviously has them to make. Let's hope that her choice to press this issue is not another one of her bad ones that will add to the consequences that both she and others will have to deal with because of her making it. I hope she continues to think about her loved ones and how the fallout continues to affect them. It's not just the money the corporation was paying to keep her on the payroll until they determined that they were justified to release her, it's her possibly continuing to receive that money when the evidence pointed at her guilt, legally sentenced or not. Doing what is legal and doing what is right are not always the same thing. She may legally have the option to try to get more money from the corporation and cause more stress to her family members, but is it right of her to do so? Only she can answer that herself and truly know what other choices might be eliminated for her if she continues to press this issue. Her family doesn't need this but her actions cause them to carry the consequences as well. Hopefully she will reflect on this and take upon herself to get counseling and not use it as a term of employment with the school. If she were truly thinking of further choices and consequences this would not be a bargaining chip. She'd be in therapy already learning about all of this and taking responsibility for her behavior. That would be the best thing she could continue to teach to her family and her former students...Hopefully she will think about it and make the right choice for her next one. She can still do a lot of good in her life but she has to go about it the right way, not just the legal way.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Sep 3, 2008, at 5:40 PM

I don't know, I trust her more with kids than some other teachers in the corporation...

-- Posted by washdcfan on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 3:43 AM

The school corporation has a NO TOLERANCE policy. if the Star Cheerleader was facing the same charges she would be off the squad...... same for the teachers.......AND SHE HAD POT HELLO SHE IS AROUND OUR KIDS EVERYDAY.... THAT IS SOMETHING WE ARE TRYING TO GETOUTOF CLAY COUNTY NOT SAY IT IS OK AND LET THEM TEACH OUR KIDS.

-- Posted by laughing out loud on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 8:06 AM

Actually, she didn't have pot. The woman with her did. She's a good teacher and coach, though she shows favoritism, but what teacher/coach in Clay County doesn't? What she did was stupid, but I know a number of local teachers -- who still have their jobs -- who go out and get drunk on a regular basis, and I am confident in saying that there are plenty of teachers who smoke pot. The only difference between Miller and half the corporation is that she got caught.

-- Posted by bsmom on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 9:07 AM

BS MOM, you are living up to your initials!You are very irresponsible to characterize a whole group of educators and pronunce that they are worse then Mrs. Miller. This lady chose to drink irresponsibly and to further escalate the problem and is paying the price. My parents were educators and those remarks are childish and asinine.

Favoritism amongst teachers is your favorite topic. Common sense would tell me that teachers would gravitate to those students who are respectful and gravitate away from those who are not. That is called human nature! Perhaps some inward perspective is needed to identify the problem with your issues(look in the mirror).

-- Posted by rdevil8 on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 10:27 AM


I think you are confused about the charges. No matter what people personally think about alcohol, it is legal to drink it so long as you are of age and not doing a task that demands that you don't, such as teaching or driving a vehicle. Teachers drinking off duty is not the issue here. Drinking so much that you make others in public fully aware of it by not being able to control your actions [public drunkenness] is the issue.

Making a blanket statement that many other teachers go out to get drunk and smoke pot is pretty inflammatory if you don't have facts to back it up. If you do, it would be your responsibility to report it as it would also be your responsibility to report true favouritism by a teacher so the matter could be corrected for other students eventually. Since I assume you have not done this, I can only suspect that it is not true or that you really don't care about the educational process enough to invest your time doing so.

While I am quick to point out that there are a few teachers here that are not doing their jobs, I take offense at you categorizing the group as a bunch of drunken pot heads. The corporation's teachers do not deserve defaming of that nature by association even. Furthermore even with my vocalizations about specific teacher deficits, I have never _known_ any teachers to treat my child any differently due to what I might say. Most would not even consider that as they are professionals and realize that my opinions are not always those of my children's. On the other hand, I expect the same respect for the teacher from my children as they give them. Even if I happen to think that the teacher has made an error or is ineffectual as like it or not, that is who they have to work with to get the job of learning accomplished. My mother was a teacher my husband IS one, and I know plenty of other teachers and the bulk of them hardly drink at all, never mind get drunk, even in the privacy of their own home. I hope you rethink what you've written as it is an insult and prejudicial statement.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 11:29 AM

I would not want this person as a role model for my children who are in the CCSC. She made a mistake, yes, but also as a citizen of Clay County as well as a teacher she should have known better. #1 by not drinking and driving (or riding) #2 pull your pants down in public #3 By acting like a idiot

Why in the heck would I want my children looking up to this person? I don't and she should be taking her punishment and moving on. This is an embarassement to the community, the school and most of all herself.

-- Posted by chazzie on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 12:54 PM

As a teacher myself, I know that we are always in the public eye. It is our duty to behave responsibly. I am far from perfect, but I am quite well aware that my actions - private or public - could affect my career. So if I have a drink, I make sure I have a designated driver (that's not carrying drugs....). Once students, parents, a community sees that a person who is in charge of their children has done something questionable or flat-out wrong, it has permanently tarnished his/her reputation. She admitted she did something wrong and apologized. But she made the choice to act the ways she did. Anyone who has a career working with the public is held responsible for their actions, and we have to know that we could possibly get caught for doing something wrong.. and have it splashed all over the media... especially in a small town in Clay county.

PLUS I know that every year when I start school, my principal informs us that if we are ever arrested for ANY reason, we are to inform administration... and our job could most definitely be on the line. I now live and teach in FL and anytime a teacher is arrested for any reason, it hits the news.

I know teachers aren't perfect. We have lives. We're people with flaws just like everyone else. However, it's about controlling ourselves - just like everyone else - and making sure we're doing one of the most important things that we do for the community and students everywhere - set a good example.

-- Posted by teacher84 on Fri, Sep 5, 2008, at 11:22 PM

Obviously I struck a nerve with a few people, but as I thought was obvious in my comments, I think what Miller did was extremely stupid.

Furthermore, how is favoritism my "favorite topic" when I only mentioned it briefly? I only meant that a lot of teachers show favoritism. And yes, when I've felt there was favoritism, I have brought it to the attention of teachers, coaches, principals, etc., but of course nothing was done. How can you really prove something like that? I know I've been the favorite of teachers before myself. I was a good student and very active in my community growing up.

I was only responding to what someone else had said about Miller playing favorites. And she did name her daughter after one of her students, with whom she was very close.

In addition, I clearly did not say that all teachers are drunken potheads. I simply meant that I have seen teachers out in bars, totally drunk and acting foolishly, and I'm sure many of them drove home, as there was no designated driver in their party. I don't know how many teachers smoke pot, I do not have the time or resources to conduct research on the matter. I simply stated that there are some that do. (By the way, Miller was not proven to be a "pothead" either.)

Like I said, Miller got caught. I don't have numbers to back it up, only personal experiences, and I guess I have never seen any other teachers pee in front of officers, so you really got me on that one.

-- Posted by bsmom on Sat, Sep 6, 2008, at 9:22 AM

I actually think drug testing would be a great idea. Contrary to popular belief on here, I am certainly not tolerant of such activity among educators.

I also think regular testing to make sure teachers are still competent at teaching would be a wonderful idea. This will surely make a few people quite angry, but I think there are a number of teachers who have been in the system a long time who could not meet today's standards for becoming a teacher.

(Note: I didn't say all teachers are stupid, so please don't respond as if I did.)

-- Posted by bsmom on Sun, Sep 7, 2008, at 7:01 AM

I cant believe this is even an issue. She was Arrested and charged with a crime.. SHE SHOULD NOT TEACH IN OUR SCHOOLS!!!

-- Posted by laughing out loud on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 10:01 AM

Well, "laughing out loud", I haven't read a single comment on here that said she shouldn't be fired.

Unfortunately, a couple of people had trouble comprehending my first comment and made it seem as if there was a debate on that topic.

-- Posted by bsmom on Mon, Sep 8, 2008, at 3:50 PM

As a student, I believe she shouldn't be allowed back into the school system. She isn't a great role-model for kids of any age.

-- Posted by AmayaTsuki on Wed, Sep 10, 2008, at 12:41 PM

Now can you really blame the kids in this town for doing what they do( drinking smoking ect.). She was my teacher a few years back. The next time you read about one of the kids in this town take a min. and look at our role models. Not just her alot of the parents smoke pot drink and drive in this town, its not always the adults you would expect either.

-- Posted by lilmomma on Tue, Sep 16, 2008, at 3:24 AM

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