Muscogee County School Board approves to fire a Kendrick High School teacher following several incidents involving students

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COLUMBUS, GA. (WRBL) – The Muscogee County School Board unanimously voted to fire John Savell, a Social Studies teacher at Kendrick High School.

The Muscogee County School Board held a due process hearing for Savell. According to school officials, John Savell was involved in a physical altercation with a student in November.

That altercation was captured by school surveillance camera. At the hearing the board determined that Savell exercised poor management control and had a pattern of conduct not acceptable in a school setting.

“What I absorbed was Mr. Savell walking around the room. I observed him pulling the student’s chair out and I observed him touching the chair, touching the student when the student got out of the chair and stood up,” Latoria Jackson, human resource coordinator said.

Board members were the only ones that viewed the video. The attorney representing the school board says after the student stood up, the student knocked Savell’s hand down.

The attorney says Savell responded by putting him in a head lock. Savell says he was defending himself and does not feel as if he had the proper training on how to handle that situation.

“I should definitely have more counseling training on how to handle de-escalating aggressive students, which I haven’t had any of that. That kind of thing is very important. I haven’t had a lot of discipline training,” Savell said.

Superintendent David Lewis disagrees and says every teacher has access to training for de-escalating a situation.

“Every teacher goes through an induction process that incorporates classroom management. We also have multiple online opportunities provided through our teaching and learning department,” Lewis said.

According to Kendrick High School Principal Alonzo James, Savell was reprimanded several times due to his aggression towards students.

Evidence was presented during the hearing that Savell had been written up in the past for throwing an agenda book across the room and kicking a student’s chair.

Savell says he does not agree with the school board’s decision. He says this will only give disobedient students a boost and hurt the morale of teachers.

The last reprimand for Savell came on Nov. 1, after Savell was involved in a physical altercation with a student in the school’s cafeteria.

Savell says he had a feeling things would not work out in his favor and he already has a new job.

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