East Side teacher suspended after policy violation

Published 4:59 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A recent investigation by Elizabethton City Schools into allegations of improper political distribution at an elementary school resulted in a teacher receiving three days suspension.

Administration recently announced that East Side Elementary third grade teacher Mary Pierce was suspended for three days without pay after the investigation, which took place Friday, March 27, showed the teacher had violated Board of Education policies 5.611 and 1.806.

Allegations indicated that Pierce, wife of Carter County Court Clerk candidate Bruce Pierce, had distributed shirts for children to wear promoting her husband’s candidacy. Reports indicated that children that wore the shirt would be able to eat lunch in Pierce’s classroom while others would have to stay in the cafeteria.

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The statement issued to the Elizabethton Star on Wednesday from ECS added that,” It addition, the teacher — who is otherwise a good employee and teacher — was counseled to follow all policies and procedures set forth by the Elizabethton City Schools Board of Education. The school principal was disciplined for failure to enforce board policies.”

Backlash ensued following the incident with social media posts appearing on Facebook.

After the allegations were made apparent, Bruce Pierce made a post apologizing for the incident.

School officials added they recognize the “right and responsibility of its employees to be politically engaged as citizens.”

But, according to Wednesday’s statement, “that political activity must not violate state law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-19-206(d)(2)) and/or the ethical duties of educators to expose students to varying points of view and to refrain from using professional relationships with students for private advantage (Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-5-1003(b)).”


In a separate instance of personnel news, the system reportedly relieved Mike Wilson and Eddie Pless from their positions as acting athletic directors at Elizabethton High School on Monday sources revealed to the Elizabethton Star. No official statement has been made from ECS in regards to the move. An update on the incident will be made public when information is provided.