Union County school teacher fired for underage drinking party

11:36 PM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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A Maynardville Elementary school teacher allowed nearly two dozen underage students to drink on her property.

Thursday night she lost her job for it.

Tina Wilder fought for months to keep teaching and the fight continued at the Union County School board meeting.

Attorneys for the Union County Director of Schools and Wilder argued their cases to the board.

"For a teacher of this school system to hold an after-prom party for numerous underage students, not from this county, mostly from Kentucky, is not acceptable," said Chris McCarty, attorney for the Director of Schools.

"She has not had previous issues of discipline. She has not had previous issues of poor performance. She has been a good teacher for Union County," said Wilder's attorney before the school board.

This isn't the first time she was dismissed for the crime. Last year, after pleading guilty to allowing students to drink at her lake cabin, the Director of Schools at the time, Dr. Jimmy Carter, fired her.

She was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

Because she had tenure, she had the right to appeal her dismissal. An independent hearing officer found that she should be suspended for 30 days without pay but not terminated.

The current director of schools, Wayne Goforth, appealed the hearing officer's decision.

The school board agreed with Goforth.  The voted unanimously to overturn the hearing officer's decision.

"I felt like it was the right move... For other teachers," Marty Gibbs, Union County School Board member.

"I think it 's important... Conduct ourselves," said Goforth.

Wilder's attorney says it was a one time lapse in judgement and she didn't deserve to lose her job.

Wilder said her daughter had an after prom party and that she set a no alcohol rule for the students. None of the students were from Union County.

Wilder said she fell asleep and didn't know that the kids were drinking.

The Union County Sheriff's Office says they found 65 containers of alcohol on the property and a bag of keys-- as if someone had collected them.

Wilder has the ability to appeal the decision to the Union County Chancery Court. She declined an interview but said she is strongly considering that option.


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