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Red Bay’s Ozbirn returns to classroom

In the Franklin County Board of Education meeting Nov. 15, the board unanimously approved a ten-day suspension, without pay, for Red Bay Elementary schoolteacher Shanna Ozbirn.

Ozbirn, who was arrested in mid-October for public intoxication at a Red Bay City Council meeting, is reported to have entered rehab following the incident. Superintendent Gary Williams said her suspension, while not officially voted on until last Tuesday, began the day she returned from rehab – Nov. 2. Ozbirn was slated to return to the classroom Nov. 17.

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“It didn’t happen on school grounds – it was on her time – but she is teaching our students, so it’s our business, we feel,” Williams said. He said the incident is something the board takes very seriously, hence the suspension. The consequences match those which were given in a previous, similar incident, which Williams said set a precedent. “We felt like that was fair.”

Williams said while he has received complaints in previous years about Ozbirn’s conduct, that she has exhibited signs of being under the influence while in public, “I have not heard any complaints about her teaching.” Williams added that while he has not personally observed Ozbirn’s performance in the classroom, he plans to confer with RBHS Principal Kenny Sparks about whether she is teaching effectively to ensure that is the case.

Williams said Ozbirn has taught at Red Bay for eight years.

Two board members were sworn into office at Tuesday’s meeting, with the ceremony being performed by Judge Paula McDowell. Shannon Oliver was uncontested in his re-election bid; Terry Welborn won re-election against Curtis Baker.

The board also took the following actions:

  • Approved out-of-state trips.
  • Elected Mike Shewbart as chairman.
  • Elected Welborn as vice-chairman.
  • Approved an interagency agreement for providing mental health services between the school system and Riverbend Center for Mental Health.

The next board meeting will be Dec. 13 at 5:15 p.m., with the work session preceding at 5 p.m.

 

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