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Tribunal agrees with recommendation to suspend Spanish teacher

JONESBORO — A high school Spanish teacher accused of inappropriate conduct in the showing of an R-rated movie to minor students has vowed not to do it again without prior approval.

An employee hearing tribunal voted this month to accept Superintendent Luvenia Jackson’s recommendation to suspend Forest Park High teacher Shawn Clements for three days without pay.

Clements represented himself before a three-member panel to answer questions about why he showed the movie, “Mi Familia,” to 14-to-17-year-olds in his classroom March 17.

Winston Demark, an attorney for Clayton County Public Schools, said the teacher’s conduct in showing the film to the teens was inappropriate and against district procedure.

Clements argued the R-rated content was not extreme and was not the focus of the film, which dealt with Hispanic cultural issues such as immigration and familial generation gaps.

He said he had shown the film to high school students for 10 years prior to joining the district’s faculty.

Clements, who is relatively new to the district, added that he was unaware of the prior-approval policy.

“I really didn’t think that was a big deal,” said Clements, during his testimony to the tribunal. “I didn’t even know there was a policy. Looking back, I think I wouldn’t show that video at all because I see how much trouble it’s caused. I probably will never show the video again, because of this.”