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Grundy County School Board Member Facing Allegations About Election Laws

The Grundy County School District posted on Facebook a letter from Director of Schools Dr. Clint Durley and Chairman of the School Board Rick Rust concerning allegations of political pressure by a member of the Board of Education.

The letter claims that a female board member attended an event in May at Swiss Memorial Elementary School. Allegedly she asked teachers to vote in a certain way in the upcoming Board elections.

The letter states that the board member allegedly said that, if they voted for certain Board members, then the Board would close Swiss Memorial, leaving the teachers without jobs.

Durley and Rust denied the claims and have turned over the allegations to the district attorney’s office because of possible violations of the Hatch Act. See the letter below.

 

From Dr. Clint Durley, Director of Grundy County Schools and Rick Rust, Chairman of the Grundy County Board of Education.

“Several teachers at the Swiss Memorial School have reported to us that a member of the Grundy County Board of Education came onto campus on May 17, 2024, during an end-of-the-year retirement celebration for a long-time faculty member. According to these reports, this Board member, who had not been invited to the celebration, may have violated Tennessee elections laws, Tenn. Code Ann. 2-19-202, the Little Hatch Act.

This Board member allegedly asked teachers where they lived and, based upon their answers, told them how they should vote in the upcoming Board elections. She allegedly also said that, if they voted for certain Board members, then the Board would close Swiss Memorial, leaving the teachers without jobs.

First, no Board member has the right to speak on behalf of the Board regarding any matter. The Board has never considered closing Swiss, and it was improper for this Board member to suggest that it had – if she did. Rest assured, we have no plans to close Swiss.

Additionally, no Board member has the right to intimidate any school system employee, especially in instances regarding what should be free and open elections. If the Board member suggested voting one way or the other could cost teachers their jobs, then this action was unfair, irresponsible, and possibly criminal.

We, the Executive Committee of the Board of Education, are writing to you to address any misinformation this incident may have created and to apologize for any anxiety that resulted. If these acts of intimidation occurred as described to us, we wanted to assure you these actions do not reflect the values of the other members of your Board of Education.

The Board intends to address this matter at its next meeting. Meanwhile, we have also asked our Board attorney to speak to the District Attorney General for investigation into possible criminal prosecution.

Thank you for allowing us to serve our students and our community.”