District officials said in a statement that the incident took place Nov. 9, though Gilmore told Channel 2 the incident took place Nov. 12. School officials said Gilmore emailed Henderson Mill Elementary’s principal Monday, then emailed Superintendent Steve Green Tuesday. O’Donnell was notified by the district on Nov. 14 that he was being placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Green said Thursday night during the November “On the Scene with Dr. Green” meeting at Columbia Middle School in Decatur that he would not comment on the matter, adding that he was allowing the district’s process, which includes investigating the incident, to run its course.
District officials sent a statement Friday that it “is committed to behaviors that provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students. The district does not discuss personnel matters and cannot speak directly to your questions about the individual you noted. However, the occurrence has been investigated and DCSD has taken appropriate action based on its findings.”
Jonathan Clay said Friday he was concerned O’Donnell’s career was effectively being ended for a questionable decision, as well as the message the district was sending its teachers.
“My concern is two-fold,” he said. “I’m concerned about teachers in general and how the school system is not allowing them to do the job they’re here to do, which is educate our children. What do you to with the other 25 students when one does wrong?
“If this can happen to Coach O’DOnnell, it can happen to any of them.”