For the second time in as many years, a South Carolina school teacher has been fired from his job at a government-run school owing to allegations of inappropriate behavior.
Tim Manning of Columbia, S.C. was relieved of his duties as a sixth grade teacher at Clear Dot charter school effective Friday (October 22, 2021), according to an email sent by the school on Monday morning (October 25, 2021).
What happened? A lot, allegedly …
For starters, Manning is accused of writing a racial slur on a school whiteboard at the school back in September. According to reporter Adam Mintzer of WIS TV 10 (NBC – Columbia, S.C.), this is the reason Manning was fired from the school.
According to emails obtained by this news outlet, Clear Dot officials were notified back in August of several issues involving Manning – who resigned from a government-run school in Lexington county last spring after he was accused of being the author of a neo-Nazi social media handle.
Manning denied those allegations, but he stepped down from his position as a social studies teacher and volleyball coach at Pleasant Hill middle school in Lexington, S.C. while officials at Lexington county school district one investigated the allegations.
Manning was hired by Clear Dot shortly thereafter …
According to one of the emails I obtained, issues regarding his tenure at the school began cropping up at the beginning of the current school year – when one parent contacted school officials to complain about an alleged lack of academic standards in Manning’s classroom as well as allegations that he was behaving like “a creep.”
According to the email, a female student said she witnessed Manning touching another female student in a manner that made both students feel uncomfortable.
“She mentioned that he placed his hand on another female student’s shoulder and when asked to remove it by the student he would not,” the parent wrote. “The student had to stand up to alleviate the situation.”
The parent made sure to give Manning – and the school – the benefit of the doubt.
“I know I’m talking to a teenager and to take some of what she says with a grain of salt,” the parent wrote.
The email did, however, make reference to Manning’s prior affiliations with neo-Confederate organizations as a cause for concern.
“I don’t want or intend to get political, as some would say, but what I found is pure hatred and not at all what I expected of or heard about Clear Dot,” the parent wrote.
Two weeks later, school officials finally responded – with Clear Dot principal Lindsey Ott calling the parent to address their concerns.
An email was also sent from the Christy Junkins, chief of authorization and accountability at the Erskine Charter Institute – which oversees Clear Dot and 25 other charter schools across the state. Junkins asked the parent to contact the school’s governing board with their concerns.
“Have you spoken to the school’s board yet?” she wrote. “For charter schools, the Institute must allow the school’s board an opportunity to rectify any issues before the Institute gets involved. The Institute does not hire or fire staff at the school level. The hiring or firing at the school level is one area charter schools are autonomous.”
Two weeks later, though – on September 30 – another incident was reported in which Manning allegedly accused a female student of inappropriately touching a male student during class after he observed them “sitting too close” to each other.
“He said it appeared very likely inappropriate, looked like she was touching his penis and their facial expressions were of that nature,” the parent of the female student wrote. “He said he couldn’t be 100 percent certain, but he wanted to shed his hands of the situation.”
The allegation was false, the parent claimed, although Manning only removed the female student from the classroom – not the male student.
“What kind of message does that send to my daughter if she was the only one removed from class?” the parent asked. “Why would the other participant in a possible sex act not be removed also?”
This time, the parent rebuked school leaders for their failure to address the situation.
“I’ve never encountered a school principal who is so hands off and full of excuses and a school that is so poor at communication,” the parent wrote. “I still question Mr. Manning’s capability to teach Algebra, his fitness to be in a classroom with children and especially female or (children) of color. I truly wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt regarding the racist accusations, but the more I hear about his interactions with students the more difficult that is proving.”
Ultimately, the parent opted to remove their children from the school. And now, less than a month later, Manning is no longer employed by the school after students accused him of writing the ‘n-word” on a school white board.
“Regarding the incident that took place here at school on Friday, we are glad that our parents understand that they are in an environment where they can bring their concerns forward,” a statement from the school released on Monday morning noted. “We have concluded our preliminary investigation, and the teacher has been relieved of his duties effective Friday, October 22nd. We will conduct a full investigation in the next few weeks, and full details of the investigation will be released at a later date. We will never tolerate any kind of inappropriate behavior and are committed to creating and maintaining a welcoming environment for all students.”
The statement did not identify Manning by name, but internal emails provided to this news outlet confirmed the complaints leveled against him – as well as the school’s response (or lack thereof) to the allegations.
Manning declined to comment when reached by this news outlet – and calls to his attorney were not immediately returned. In the event Manning or his attorney decide to respond, this news outlet will be sure to update this story with that information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, in addition to having lots of kids he has LOTS of hats (including that Chicago Blackhawks’ lid pictured above).
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