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Fired Bethlehem teacher scolds board

The Bethlehem Central Chinese and Spanish teacher who had been publicly critical of the school administration over her expected firing has been officially terminated.

Terry Waltz was unanimously terminated by the Bethlehem Board of Education on Wednesday, Aug. 12, at the district offices, but not without getting in a few final words directed at administrators and Superintendent Michael Tebbano at the sparsely attended meeting.

How many times has the administration failed to properly inform you before? she asked. "How many times will you allow this lack of personal and professional responsibility on the part of contract administrators to go unremarked and unresolved?"

She has said that Bethlehem Central terminated her position, along with the adult education courses that she ran, because of a personality conflict and then brought trumped up accusations against her in order to fire her. She said she was given two termination letters after the first was given to her the day before the board met July 1, and that it was not procedurally correct so they then handed her a second one.

Waltz will be off the school payroll on Saturday, Sept. 12, according to the board vote.

Bethlehem officials, including Tebbano, have repeatedly said they cannot comment on personnel matters, but in documents provided by Waltz, the district claimed it was seeking to let her go on June 12 because she "exercised poor professional judgment in interactions with students and made inappropriate comments to students."

Waltz said she took issue with the term "inappropriate" and the various things it could imply between a student and a teacher and that the district should "just come out and say why they are firing me."

She described the district's charges as "ridiculous" and stated the district has every right to terminate her from the probationary teaching position but that they do not need to tarnish her reputation in the process.

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