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DeKalb Schools: PE teacher has not been fired

An embattled DeKalb Schools teacher accused of making a student stand in the rain as punishment is still employed by the district, despite claims he was to resign or be fired by Nov. 30.

Physical Education teacher James O’Donnell, who has spent the last 39 years teaching at Henderson Mill Elementary School, remains on administrative leave with pay, DeKalb County School District officials said by email Wednesday.

Tara Gilmore said O’D, as the teacher is called, made her son stand outside the school gym on Nov. 9 for spinning on the floor during class. When her son, Joe, came home from school that day, his clothes were still soaked.

Parents and supporters said the teacher told the student to stand outside the gymnasium, which has a covered walkway from the gym door to the school’s main building.

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District officials would not comment on their investigative process, citing the incident as a personnel matter.

Parents have publicly questioned O’Donnell’s suspension since his suspension, including a recent rally in front of the school and at Superintendent Steve Green’s occasional community Q&A event “On the Scene with Dr. Green.” Monday, speakers during public comment at the district’s monthly school board meeting implored the board to intervene on the matter.  

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