Government

Teacher accused of 'inappropriately' using black doll meets with Cedar Rapids School Board

Cedar Rapids superintendent recommended she be fired following district investigation

Superintendant Brad Buck speaks at the start of a Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Education meeting at the Education Leadership and Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Monday, December 11, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Superintendant Brad Buck speaks at the start of a Cedar Rapids Community School District Board of Education meeting at the Education Leadership and Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Monday, December 11, 2017. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids school board began deliberations Tuesday about whether to fire Tammy Ryan, a high school teacher the district says “inappropriately” used a black baby doll in her classroom.

Ryan requested a private hearing with the board after Superintendent Brad Buck recommended her termination in July following an internal investigation. The school board’s closed session could last until Thursday, board legal counsel Jeffrey Krausman said. The board is expected to announce its decision publicly following the hearing.

Ryan attended the meeting with her lawyer, who declined to provide additional information beyond Ryan’s statement in July that described events concerning the doll as “a simple misunderstanding.”

Neither Ryan nor the district have provided details about how she used the doll.

Buck and Metro Alternative High School Principal Dan DeVore also attended the meeting. School board members John Laverty, Kristin Janssen, Nancy Humbles, Mary Meisterling and Gary Anhalt approved the agenda Tuesday while Rafael Jacobo and Jennifer Borcherding were absent.

As an exempt session, the hearing proceedings are not subject to open meetings laws.

Ryan was a teacher at Metro when the incident took place, district records show, and was paid $74,000 during the 2016-17 year. She has been an Iowa public school teacher for 26 years.

Buck’s recommendation in July to fire Ryan came after an internal investigation found her use of the doll to be inappropriate. The investigation also found Ryan to be a poor role model, unprofessional and in use of inappropriate teaching methods, according to district records.

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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