The Knucklehead of the Day award
Today's winner is Gibbs High School teacher Sharion Thurman. She gets the award for the following.
Stuffing the homecoming queen ballot box. Is that worth losing your job over? Then maybe Ms. Thurman shouldn't be a teacher. One thing is certain, Sharion Thurman is today's Knucklehead of the day.
LARGO - The offense was so brazen, so egregious that Pinellas School Board member Linda Lerner almost laughed as she read the account aloud.
A veteran Gibbs High School teacher with a long history of work troubles had falsified hundreds of student ballots in an attempt to get her niece elected homecoming queen in September.
A wave of chuckles rose during Tuesday's School Board meeting, where Lerner and other board members were asked to approve a 25-day unpaid suspension for the teacher, Sharion Thurman, 56.
"This is not a gray area; this is cheating," Lerner said.
"It's so ridiculous, it's so outrageous that all you can do is uncomfortably laugh at it," said board member Mary Russell, normally one to give a teacher the benefit of the doubt.
So why not fire the teacher, who earns more than $50,000 a year? Her 20-year record includes numerous reprimands for poor judgment, insubordination and misconduct.
Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said firing was an option. But he looked at Thurman's file and noticed that the last discipline she received was a 2005 reprimand for making "negative references." He noted that the board has urged him to use progressive discipline with employees.
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