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High school teacher facing terroristic threat charge

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

A Mundy's Mill High School special education and mathematics teacher is on administrative leave, with pay, while awaiting a public employment hearing for allegedly asking a student to kill one of his classmates.

Teacher Randolph Forde is out of jail on $10,000 bond, and the case was bound over to Clayton County Superior Court on Oct. 14, according to online court records.

He is charged with making a terroristic threat against a 16-year-old student a few days after questioning the youth's sexual orientation. "The suspect approached a student, who happened to be a friend of the victim, in the bus area of the school, on Oct. 9, and informed the student that he had a hit out for someone," Clayton County Police spokesman, Officer Otis Willis, III, said.

"The student asked who it was, and the suspect wrote the victim's name on a piece of paper. The student then went to his friend, and told him what was going on," Willis said. "As far as I know, no money was ever transferred [for a hit to take place]," Willis added.

The school system had planned to hold an employment hearing for Forde today, but it has been postponed, School System Spokesman Charles White said. White said the school system placed Forde on administrative leave with pay, while an investigation was conducted, but the hearing was postponed because of the public nature of the hearing.

"It needed to be properly advertised, since it is a public hearing," White said. "It will be re-scheduled for sometime in the next two weeks, but it may not be until after the Thanksgiving holiday."

White said Forde was in his second year of teaching in Clayton County. Forde has only taught at Mundy's Mill, White said. The district's spokesman said he was not allowed to comment further, since it is a personnel matter.

Terance Madden, an Atlanta attorney representing the 16-year-old student on whom Forde allegedly sought a "hit," said his client had prior problems with the teacher, in the days leading up to the incident.

"On or about Sept. 29, my client was called out into the hall by Mr. Forde and asked if he was gay," Madden said. "Where that came from, I have no idea." Madden said the inquiry into his client's sexual orientation offended the youth. "How in the hell do you ask a student if he is gay?" the attorney asked. "What does that have to do with algebra?"

Madden said issues between his client and Forde continued the next day, this time with a threat of violence. "There was a verbal altercation," the attorney said. "Mr. Forde was standing over my client's desk yelling at him, with Mr. Forde threatening to hit him in his '[expletive deleted] mouth.'"

Madden said his client, and Forde then left the classroom, with the youth believing they were going to the school's front office, but the teacher allegedly walked past the office. The student then went into the office and reported to one of the school's assistant principals what Forde had allegedly said to him, but no apparent action was taken against the teacher, Madden said.

On Oct. 12, the mother of the 16-year-old student contacted the school resource officer (SRO) to file a complaint against the teacher, according to the police report. Madden said a condition of the educator's bond is that he has to stay away from the youth who was allegedly threathened.

Madden said he, his client and his client's mother plan to attend Forde's employment hearing when it is held. The youth "is anxious to tell what was done," the attorney said.

According to a police report, filled out by Mundy's Mill's SRO, Forde apologized for "being linked to any incident that has created an atmosphere that consumes the time of all parties involved," but denied making any comments about the 16-year-old student.

"In his closing, he wanted to advise again that he never made a comment to the victim, or about the victim," the SRO wrote in the police report.

Forde's attorney, Borquaye Thomas, could not be reached for comment on Thursday.