BOE hearing for Thorsby teacher to be held Oct. 10

Published 5:47 pm Thursday, October 3, 2013

A hearing will be held Oct. 10 for a former Thorsby High School teacher charged with statutory rape and sodomy of a juvenile.

Jennifer Collins McNeill, 39, of Thorsby, is scheduled to appear with legal representation before the Chilton County Board of Education on Oct. 10 at 4 p.m. at the Central Office.

John Hollis Jackson, the board’s attorney, said McNeill requested the hearing as per her right to do so under the Students First Act of 2011, which provides for “fundamental fairness and due process to employees covered by this act.”

As required by the law, Jackson said McNeill was sent a notice of termination by Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden and had 15 days after the issuance of the notice to file a written request for a hearing with the Chilton County Board of Education.

McNeill was granted the hearing.

Jackson said whether the hearing is open or closed to the public would be McNeill’s decision Oct. 10.

After the hearing, the board may vote on whether to terminate McNeill that day, or the board may choose to vote at a later date.

“They don’t have to vote that day,” Jackson said.

According to Jackson and Hayden, McNeill is currently on paid administrative leave.

McNeill appeared in district court Sept. 25 for a preliminary hearing in front of Chilton County Judge Rhonda Hardesty.

McNeill is still out on bond, and her case is scheduled to go before a grand jury in February 2014.

The Chilton County Board of Education is no longer handling a different case involving a former school employee.

Stephen Pounders, former band director at Thorsby High School, was placed on administrative leave in October 2012 as the Thorsby Police Department started an investigation into Pounders related to the improper use of cameras at the school.

Hayden said Pounders was on paid administrative leave for several weeks before Pounders resigned about a year ago.

“It’s in the hands of the state right now,” Hayden said and added he wasn’t sure whether the investigation was ongoing.

Hayden and Jackson declined to comment on Pounders’ use of cameras at the school but confirmed his case is no longer being handled in the county.

“He’s not associated with our system in any way at the present time,” Jackson said.

Hayden said Casey Clark was hired as Thorsby’s full-time band director during second semester of the 2012–2013 school year.

Editor’s note: Contrary to information published in the original version of this story, The Clanton Advertiser has confirmed that former Chilton County Schools employee Stephen Pounders was not arrested. The Advertiser is pleased to set the record straight.