Thorsby teacher’s employment terminated at hearing Thursday

Published 5:31 pm Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Chilton County Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to approve Superintendent Dave Hayden’s recommendations to terminate Thorsby High School teacher Jennifer Collins McNeill’s employment and to cease her salary and benefits immediately.

McNeill, 39 of Thorsby, was charged Aug. 16 with statutory rape and sodomy of a juvenile and was placed on administrative leave Aug. 17 from her duties at Chilton County Schools until further notice.

Neither McNeill nor her legal representation was present at a open hearing Oct. 10 at the Central Office.

McNeill had requested the hearing as per her right to do so under the Students First Act of 2011.

Prior to the hearing Thursday, Hayden said his office received the following documents: A letter from McNeill’s representation withdrawing the request for a hearing on behalf of her client (McNeill); a resignation as a faculty member from Chilton County Schools from McNeill; and a voluntary surrender of professional educator certificate documents signed by McNeill.

Hayden presented his recommendation to the board and called one witness, Investigator Jeff Cobb with the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department.

Hayden asked Cobb if, in his investigation, he believed there was sufficient evidence to convict McNeill of the charges against her, and Cobb responded with, “I do.”

After meeting in executive session to consider what action, if any, should be taken, the board reconvened in open session to vote on Hayden’s recommendation.

The board’s actions to terminate McNeill and cease her salary and benefits immediately will be issued to McNeill in a written decision.

“There are eight pending felony decisions against her, and this was just the right thing to do at this time,” Hayden said.