Clayton teacher cleared in threat case set to apply for old job

The Clayton County teacher cleared of a charge he threatened to "put a hit" on a student plans to apply for his old job Thursday.

Randolph Forde, who taught special education at Mundy's Mill High School until being fired late last year, said he's going to a job fair held by the school system.

"I need to go back to where the problem was and pick up where I left off," Forde, 34, told the AJC. "You don't walk away from your dream when you know you didn't do anything wrong."

A grand jury in May declined to indict Forde, who had been arrested on a charge of making terroristic threats and fired after a school system investigation. There were inconsistencies in students' accounts. And the key witness refused to take a polygraph.

Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson said the state presented all material witnesses and that "the grand jurors listened to their testimony and apparently judged their credibility and returned a no-bill."

The school system issued a statement in May saying the matter was closed, but added that Forde, "like any other person, can apply for any position posted by the district."

Forde said the firing affected his certification process. He had a provisional certificate and was in his second year at Mundy's Mill.

"Because they stopped me, I can't teach anywhere in Georgia unless I go through Clayton County," Forde said. "I took about 15 total exams and it becomes useless unless I go back.

"And it's not really just about a job anymore," he continued. "I need for them to clear my name and for them to say something like, ‘Mr. Forde is back in the classroom and we apologize.'"

Forde said the 11th grader made up accusations against him to retaliate for previous disciplinary measures.

The Board of Education, however, found that Forde "failed to exhibit professional conduct" in his dealings with the student.