Board suspends Cobb teacher who took student to his home

Spencer Jordan, center, speaks with his former student, Jahmina Santiago, after a panel overturned the Cobb school district's decision not to renew his contract. Credit: Kristal Dixon/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Spencer Jordan, center, speaks with his former student, Jahmina Santiago, after a panel overturned the Cobb school district's decision not to renew his contract. Credit: Kristal Dixon/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Kristal Dixon/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Kristal Dixon/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Cobb County drama teacher will keep his job more than a year after the district said he violated policy by taking a student to his home.

The Cobb County School Board on Thursday unanimously upheld the recommendation by a three-person tribunal panel to suspend Spencer Jordan for five days without pay for violating the district’s policy that prohibits removing a student from school grounds without written permission except in an emergency.

A Campbell High School teacher who is openly gay, Jordan allowed a student to stay in his home when in September 2019 he took one of his students to his Forsyth County home. Attorneys for the school district said the visit violated school district rules that only allow students to be alone with teachers for academic purposes and with the permission of a parent or guardian.

The school district originally opted not to renew Jordan’s contract, and Jordan appealed the decision to the panel. Cobb school board members did not discuss the decision before taking action. Board member David Morgan was not present.

Jordan was the student’s drama teacher during the 2019-2020 school year. The student told Jordan that he was having problems at home and feared he would be kicked out of his home because he was bisexual.

ExplorePanel recommends suspending Cobb teacher for taking student to his home

On Sept. 9, 2019, the student left the school with Jordan, who took him to his home where the student took a shower, ate a steak dinner and watched a movie with the teacher’s family.

Jordan said last week during testimony before the panel that before he brought the student home, he spoke with a school counselor to make sure he was not violating any district policies. The counselor told him she had contacted the student’s mother and that Jordan would be fine, saying “many teachers have done it in the past,” he said.

The student’s mother told the panel that said she did not give permission for her son to go to the teacher’s home. She also refuted allegations that she would have kicked her son out of her home for being bisexual.

Robyn Webb of Hoffer & Webb, LLC, Jordan’s attorney, told the panel during last week’s hearing that the teacher has a “squeaky clean record” during his 21-year tenure at Campbell. Jordan, she said, was being punished by the district because of his caring nature and that he’s gay.

Attorneys for the school district also argued that Jordan violated the system’s policy by discussing the student’s sexuality with him. Jordan denied the district’s assertion, and told the panel the only time it was brought up was when the student talked about it with him.

Jordan was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 10, and his name was scrubbed from Campbell’s website. It’s unclear if he will resume teaching at Campbell or be moved to another high school.

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