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Dinkins v. South Iron R-1 School District

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

July 31, 2014

CHRISTINA DINKINS, Respondent-Cross Appellant,
v.
SOUTH IRON R-1 SCHOOL DISTRICT, Appellant-Cross Respondent

Page 601

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF IRON COUNTY. Honorable Sidney T. Pearson, III, Circuit Judge.

For Appellant/Cross Respondent: Cindy Reeds Ormsby, of Clayton, MO and Kathryn Boehm Forster of St. Louis, MO.

For Respondent/Cross Appellant: L. Dwayne Hackworth and Benjamin E. Thompson, of Piedmont, MO.

WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., C.J. - OPINION AUTHOR. NANCY STEFFEN RAHMEYER, P.J. - Concurs. DANIEL E. SCOTT, J. - Concurs.

OPINION

Page 602

WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., C.J.

AFFIRMED

In this case, both parties have appealed and cross appealed. South Iron R-1 School District (" the District" ) appeals the judgment of the trial court reversing the decision of the South Iron R-1 School District Board of Education (" the Board" ) that terminated Christina Dinkins' (" Dinkins" ) employment with the District for insubordination. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.[1]

Facts and Procedural History

The District is a Missouri public school district and a political subdivision of the state of Missouri. Dinkins had been teaching at South Iron R-1 Elementary School for thirteen years, primarily at the fifth grade level. Dinkins' employment was as a " permanent teacher" with an " indefinite contract" as defined by section 168.104(3)[2] of the Teacher Tenure Act. See § § 168.102-168.130.

On October 2, 2007, Cristie Ayers (" Ayers" ), the principal for the South Iron R-1 Elementary School, provided Dinkins a letter as directed by section 168.116.2. The letter stated that Dinkins was " insubordinate in the line of duty" and cited two specific examples of conduct:

a. You were provided with your 2007/2008 class roster three (3) weeks prior to the start of school by your supervisor, and notified to bring any concerns or comments to her attention prior to the start of school. You confronted your supervisor regarding your class roster fifteen (15) minutes prior to the commencement o [sic] school on August 16, 2007. You accused your supervisor of being hypocritical and you generally used a disrespectful and unprofessional tone and language when addressing your supervisor.
b. After Ms. Bell informed you that your supervisor notified her it was inappropriate to bring a concern regarding bus drivers to the superintendent prior to addressing your concern with your supervisor (the proper chain of command) you confronted your supervisor in front of parents, staff and students in a disrespectful and unprofessional manner. You stated ...

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