A Tennessee teacher suspended earlier this month for allegedly writing the word "stupid" on a student's forehead is now being investigated for other instances of inappropriate behavior, the county school director said today.
"We're trying to get anyone who's witnessed other things," said Matt Eldridge, director of Overton County Schools, adding that the school district is talking with teachers and other faculty members. "At that point we're going to turn it in to our attorneys. They'll come back with what's warranted with [regard to] charges, and what's not."
He refused to describe the nature of the most recent allegations but said they involved "unprofessional conduct."
Eldridge would not identify the teacher other than to say that this was his first teaching job out of college and that the teacher had been an instructor at Allons Elementary School in Livingston, Tenn., since August.
Local news outlets have reported the teacher's name is Alex Boles. He could not be reached by phone, and it is unclear whether he has retained lawyer.
During the initial incident, which allegedly occurred Dec. 6, the teacher admitted to writing the word "stupid" on an eighth-grader's forehead after Eldridge confronted him Dec. 8. Boles had written the word backwards, Eldridge said, so that it would be reflected back to the student when the boy looked into a mirror.
Although the word had been written in permanent marker, Eldridge said "the child has hair over his forehead and that's probably why [his parents] didn't see it."
The teacher told Eldridge he was trying to play a joke.
"It was during class and, of course, that's not the appropriate way to joke with any of them," Eldridge said.
He found out about the incident from an employee at another school within the rural district, which serves 3,500 students.
"I did a little investigation," he said. "And someone told me they heard that was true so that next morning I contacted the principal [at the elementary school] and he investigated and found out it was true."