Storey County board upholds teacher's dismissal

The Storey County School District Board of Trustees has upheld the firing of Virginia City High School teacher William Beeson.

However, in a new agreement, Beeson will no longer teach at Storey County schools, but retains his teaching credential and can seek employment elsewhere.

The board took the action 4-0 at a Level III grievance hearing in a closed session that lasted three hours on Wednesday at the Virginia City Middle School library. No board member commented on the action at the hearing. Board member Curt Chapmen was absent.

Neither Beeson nor board President Pam Smith could be reached for comment following the meeting.

Beeson taught theater arts and English at the high school. He was placed on administrative leave in May and fired in August over allegations that he had improperly touched a student.

No criminal charges were filed against Beeson by Storey County District Attorney Harold Swafford, who has said he didn't believe a crime was committed.

Nevada Education Association representative Randy Cahill said the next step was arbitration.

"I feel good about what I did today (in representing Beeson)," Cahill said.

The hearing included review of a video of the alleged incident, a private investigator's report and testimony by two Storey County sheriff's deputies.

Neither the student nor the student's parents attended the hearing, but more than a dozen residents appeared in support of Beeson and spoke during the open segment of the hearing.

Joanne Johnson said four of her children had graduated from the high school and she still has a grandchild there, and she supported Beeson.

Larry Tanner, a former teacher at the high school, asked the board to define the charges against Beeson that required his dismissal, but they declined to respond.

Alexandra Musser said that if the district attorney found no crime, the firing was "a travesty of justice."

Cathylee James noted that the incident happened in the high school commons, in full view of anyone walking in the area or outside. She asked the board to change their decision.

Beeson had offered a settlement that the board rejected on Nov. 21, in which he would hold harmless the school district, waive further appeals, and would give up his teaching credential and not seek or accept teaching positions, either professional or voluntary, in the United States.

In return he would be allowed to retire and the board would buy out 12Ú3 years allowed by law.

With the board's action Wednesday, Beeson will no longer teach in Storey County, but retains his credential and can seek employment elsewhere.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 882-2111 ext. 351.


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