BAINBRIDGE -- A special education teacher being investigated for comments on her Facebook page was discussed in a private meeting Wednesday morning at North Putnam Middle School.
Amber Russell was asked to come to the meeting and discuss the issues parents had with her. However, she did not attend the meeting reportedly due to an illness.
Middle school principal Terry Tippin and Nancy Holsapple, director of Old National Trail Special Services Cooperative, attended the meeting, along with parents Leigh Casto and Paula Shepard and disability advocate Jill Summerlot.
Casto said Tippin listened to their concerns, but did not comment on whether or not Russell would receive disciplinary action for her Facebook posts.
"They did listen to our concerns, but they did not give an answer," Casto told the Banner Graphic.
Russell had made several posts to Facebook regarding her job. Some of these posts included, "I love dumb people. I call it job security," and "5+1=Freedom from the Hell hole." Although the wall was private, parents who were Facebook friends copied the comments.
Casto said she has been attempting to get Russell dismissed for several reasons, though the comments on Facebook are the most recent and most publicized of them. Casto claimed that Russell had a disinterest in teaching and an attitude of indifference in her job, to which Shepard, whose son is in her classes, attested.
Shepard said her son was a "teacher's pet" before being put in Russell's classes, and now he never wants to go to school.
"It wasn't like that before," Shepard said.
This has not been Russell's first issue involving parents and the school corporation. On Aug. 17, 2010, Russell had reportedly locked Casto's son Nathan in a closet. Casto's son has not been in contact with Russell since.
After that incident, Casto met with Superintendent Mary Sugg Lovejoy, Tippin and Holsapple and demanded an explanation, an apology and for Russell to be dismissed for breaking state laws regarding seclusion and restraint, as well as allegedly breaking the Individualized Education Program laws.
During the 2010 meeting, Tippin apologized for not handling the incident correctly, though they did not discuss further disciplinary action with Casto.
Russell sent Nathan Casto an apology letter on Jan. 28.
Tippin could not comment on disciplinary actions regarding the personnel, but he did acknowledge the incident and said the school board fully investigated it.
Casto said she hopes that this incident is the final straw, and that Russell will be removed from her post as soon as possible.
"How much more is going to happen?" Casto asked Wednesday.
Because of the nature of the meeting, reporters were not allowed in.
Tippin and Lovejoy had no comment on the proceedings, the disciplinary action that would or would not be taken, or whether Russell was still employed in the school corporation.
The matter is still being investigated by the school corporation.