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Pahrump teacher calls for policy changes

A Pahrump physical education teacher, put on administrative leave for more than a month last year after physical contact was made with a student, called for changes in the procedure in how incidents of that nature are handled during a recent school board meeting.

Susan Toomer, a P.E. teacher at Manse Elementary, spoke at a board meeting for the Nye County School District in February, calling for “a standard procedure with steps and actions” following accusations made by students claiming any physical contact.

“The inconsistency and the way accusations of physical contact are handled needs to be fixed, so that staff members know exactly what steps and procedures are being followed if such an accusation is filed against them,” she said.

Toomer, who has been a teacher for more than 25 years, was suspended for 33 days after an incident with a student occurred in October 2017, she explained during her presentation at the school board meeting in Nye County.

“I was placed on administrative leave for over one month for reminding a third-grade student to follow directions, which she had not done repeatedly, and I reminded her to be safe,” she said. “While doing so, I had lifted her chin to have her look at me, to make sure she knew what I was saying.”

An hour after the incident occurred, Manse Elementary Principal Laura Weir placed her on administrative leave, per district orders, Toomer said.

The Nye County School District couldn’t discuss Toomer’s case specifically but did give a statement.

“A safe and secure environment is a priority of the Nye County School District,” said Dale Norton, Nye County School District superintendent. “Unfortunately, situations sometimes occur involving allegations against employees that are required to be reported and investigated for the safety of the student, the employee, and the district. Nye County School District is not able to discuss personnel issues, which are confidential by law.”

During her leave, Toomer said she felt stressed by the situation and avoided public places, as she knew she could not talk about the situation with others.

“The mental stress, physical stress and fear had some major effects on me.,” she said. “My blood pressure has been raised. I have trouble sleeping at night … I’ve been nervous and paranoid many times. I also developed nervous and shakes that I never had before.”

Another worry Toomer had was the possibility of being arrested following the incident.

According to the Nye County District Attorney’s office, Toomer’s case was denied for prosecution. No arrest was made, the sheriff’s office said.

Contact reporter Jeffrey Meehan at jmeehan@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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