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State says Metro Schools still needs to report nearly a dozen cases of teacher misconduct

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Metro Nashville Public Schools investigated and confirmed 26 cases of teacher misconduct in the last year, including a teacher that broke a student's bones and another found drinking on the clock.

Now, the State Board of Education is asking why they're having to wait so long to hear about cases like these from MNPS.

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METRO SCHOOLS LOGO

The News4 I-Team's Lindsay Bramson put that question to the Director of Schools himself on Monday.

After she was denied an interview with Dr. Shawn Joseph over and over again, she confronted him at a news conference.

Here's why we kept pushing to speak with him:

The News4 I-Team obtained a list showing all the misconduct investigations into teachers in the past year and found 11 cases that were never passed along to the state.

In one case at Una Elementary School, a teacher broke a student's clavicle. In another, an Antioch High School teacher put a student in a choke hold.

The I-Team's investigation uncovered 26 cases in the past year where Metro Schools found teacher misconduct but delayed in telling state investigators.

“Did Metro Schools break the law in this case?" Investigative Reporter Lindsay Bramson asked.

"It will certainly come out,” said Nathan James with the Tennessee Board of Education.

State law mandates that all districts must alert the state within 30 days if a teacher has been suspended, terminated or has resigned so they can keep that person from applying at another school.

When the state realized they had only been alerted to one case, they launched an investigation. Since then, 15 have been provided.

The News4 I-Team found there are still 11 other cases that have not been shared with the state.

But whose responsibility is it to report those the state?

"The responsibility always falls on the Director of Schools,” James said.

"The state says they're still waiting on reports of 11 cases...why is that?" Bramson asked MNPS Director Dr. Shawn Joseph on Monday.

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Dr. Shawn Joseph

Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph (Source: MNPS)

"It’s news to me there are 11 additional, but if there are any we'll get them in as soon as possible,” Joseph replied.

The News4 I-Team pushed for answers because, as we mentioned, some of those cases involved teachers drinking alcohol on the job.

Joseph also placed blame on a former employee.

“We did have a situation where we had an employee who’s no longer an employee with the district that did not send reports," Joseph said. "Once it was made aware to us, we immediately sent in the information we had."

Regardless of who Joseph says is responsible, Metro School Board member Amy Frogge believes it is ultimately the director's responsibility.

“I would expect the Director of Schools to follow state law," Frogge told the News4 I-Team. "This has never happened before, and so I take it very seriously as a board member."

The News4 I-Team told you about the 26 cases of teacher misconduct -- that’s how many the state says should have been reported but were not.

In fact, last year, 89 district employees were looked into over the last year. However, it's important to note, the majority of them did not result in termination or suspension.

We'll be sure to stay on top of this and let you know when Dr. Joseph reports the additional 11 cases to the state.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Lindsay Bramson joined News4 in June 2016 as an investigative reporter.

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