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Hearing continues for teacher amid allegations of sexual behavior among kindergartners

LaTekia Heard-White posted a sign on her car in support of her cousin Diedre Knight who is appealing her recommended termination at Jackson Elementary in Jonesboro. Several family members, friends and co-workers have turned out in support of Knight on days her employee hearing has convened. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

LaTekia Heard-White posted a sign on her car in support of her cousin Diedre Knight who is appealing her recommended termination at Jackson Elementary in Jonesboro. Several family members, friends and co-workers have turned out in support of Knight on days her employee hearing has convened. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

JONESBORO — Testimony continued this week in an employee tribunal hearing involving a woman accused of being negligent in her duties as a teacher.

Diedre Knight is appealing a recommendation to have her terminated after five of her kindergartners — on more than one occasion — were allegedly secretly involved in or witnessed sexual activity in an obscured corner of her classroom at Jackson Elementary in Jonesboro.

Several family members, friends and co-workers turned out early to the Clayton County Board of Education Administrative Complex to support Knight in her quest to keep her job.

She is represented by Sharese Shields Ages, an attorney with the Shields Law Firm in Atlanta. Winston Denmark is the attorney for Clayton County Public Schools.

The hearing, which began in May, resumed Monday and continued Tuesday.

Teresa Reese is the personnel review officer who investigated the case. She gave testimony about her investigation and interview with Knight following allegations students were engaged in sexual activity out of view, behind a piece of furniture in the corner of her classroom.

“There was a corner of isolation that Ms. Knight created in the classroom,” said Reese, who called the situation egregious. “An educator has a responsibility to create an environment that is safe and nurturing to the students.”

Shields Ages responded by questioning Reese’s expertise of kindergarten classroom set-ups and whether she had viewed any of the other classrooms in the school to see if they were similarly setup.

There has been mixed testimony as to whether Knight was present in the classroom when the alleged incidents happened.

The three-member panel charged with making a final recommendation to the board on Knight’s employment continued to hear testimony at press time.

Check back with the Clayton News Daily for updates.