Storey County school board rejects settlement with fired teacher

VIRGINIA CITY - The Storey County School Board on Tuesday rejected a proposed settlement offered by attorneys for fired Virginia City High School teacher William Beeson.

On a 3-2 vote, the board decided not to accept the agreement and to go ahead with Level III grievance procedure the settlement would have halted.

Board President Pam Smith, who voted for the agreement, said that she thought putting the matter behind them was in the best interests of the school district and the students.

In the settlement, Beeson would be allowed to resign rather than be fired, and the board would buy him out of 12Ú3 years left of his teacher's contract.

He would in return 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.

Smith and board member Chris Miller voted in favor of accepting the settlement. Board members Deny Dotson, Curt Chapman and Esther Schouten voted not to accept the settlement.

Smith and Miller indicated they voted in favor of the agreement because of the stipulation Beeson would give up his teaching credential.

"If we go to hearing, all the board can do is uphold the termination," she said. "This is heartbreaking for everyone."

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

No criminal charges were filed against Beeson by Storey County District Attorney Harold Swafford, who said he didn't believe a crime was committed. The board reviewed a private investigator's report and a video of the alleged incident.

"Things that were presented show the actions were inappropriate for an educational setting," she said, but added that the district had to consider the costs of attorneys fees and further appeals.

But Schouten and Chapman were unhappy the teacher would be allowed to resign rather than be fired and would receive a buyout.

"I struggle tremendously with the money part," she said. "I have an extremely big problem with paying money to this person, from what we have seen on the CD. We have not heard his side, by his choice."

Teacher Christine Prater, a Nevada Education association representative, and parent Lori Barringer spoke in support of Beeson.

"I am really thankful my sons were able to have Bill as their teacher and mentor," she said. "He can reach children that no one else can and I am upset by this whole process. I think it's unjust."

Storey County School Superintendent Rob Slaby said the grievance hearing should be held within a week after Thanksgiving.

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at or 881-7351.


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