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Tribunal rejects superintendent recommendation to fire teacher

JONESBORO — A three-member panel has voted not to accept Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Luvenia Jackson’s recommendation to terminate employment for Diedre Knight.

Knight appealed to keep her job amid allegations that kindergartners in her class, without her immediate knowledge, were involved in sexual activity in March.

She said she reported the behavior to her superiors at Jackson Elementary in Jonesboro as soon as she learned about the behavior, that witnesses testified was done behind a large multi-purpose easel in the classroom.

Several friends, family, parents and co-workers turned out for the four-day employee hearing that spanned the latter half of May until Monday’s decision.

Sharese Shields Ages, an attorney with the Shields Law Firm in Atlanta representing Knight, also praised favorable testimony from parents of some of the children allegedly involved in the activity.

Knight said she is grateful for the support, glad for the tribunal’s decision, but cautious about a potential return to the classroom.

School officials said the process is not over for Knight. The likely next step is for the school board to review the recommendations of the superintendent and the tribunal.