Photo: Ben Brasch/AJC
Photo: Ben Brasch/AJC

Cobb teacher fights to keep job after terroristic threat charge

A Cobb County schools teacher charged with making terroristic threats is fighting to keep her job after the system chose not to renew her contract.

Tymille Baker, a math teacher at Campbell High School in Smyrna, appealed the school district’s decision before a three-personal tribunal Tuesday. Baker was charged in March with one count of felony terroristic threats for a comment she made to fourth-grade teacher Evonna Bruner at King Springs Elementary School.

Baker went to the school around 7:20 a.m. March 12 and met with another teacher to inquire about the status of her son’s application into the school’s acceleration program. That program would have allowed Baker’s son, who was in the third grade at the time, to skip the fourth grade.

Bruner, at Tuesday’s hearing, said Baker told her that if her son doesn’t get to skip a grade, “I’m going to blow up the school.” Bruner told Baker’s attorney, Kamau Mason, she did not feel threatened by the high school teacher, whom she described as an attentive parent who also has two gifted daughters. However, Bruner said she was surprised Baker would have made the comments in front of students.

“I thought she would have known better,” she said.

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Jail records show Baker, a Smyrna resident, was booked into the Cobb County jail March 25 and released the same day on a $5,000 bond. A search of Cobb County Superior Court records shows no court date has been scheduled for Baker.

Mason said the allegations were “fabricated” against his client, who has 10 years teaching experience with no disciplinary issues. After Baker’s alleged threat, Mason said no one at King Springs took precautions to ensure the health and safety of students, “which means nobody thought there was a threat.”

King Springs Assistant Principal Tiffany Jones told the panel she was in Bruner’s classroom when Baker allegedly made the threat.

“As an educator, even as a parent, with the climate we are in, you have to be mindful of what you’re saying,” Jones said.

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Both Bruner and Jones went on with their day following the alleged incident. It wasn’t until that evening when King Springs Principal Dr. Cindy Szwec became aware of the issue. Szwec said a teacher who did not witness the incident asked in a text message what she was “going to do something about the threat made to the school.”

The principal said she reached out to both Bruner and her assistant principal and asked them to provide statements about the encounter. Szwec said she notified the school district’s Human Resources Department, who informed school district police of the incident.

The panel’s recommendation will be considered by the Cobb County School Board at its July 18 meeting.

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