Monday, December 9 2013 11:20 PM EST2013-12-10 04:20:31 GMT
Sue Bonham didn't waste any time hugging four firefighters from the Sissonville Volunteer Department Monday night. Nearly one year ago, she said the four men saved her life. "It will be a year on Wednesday
Sue Bonham didn't waste any time hugging four firefighters from the Sissonville Volunteer Department Monday.
Kelli Burns taught English at Guyan Valley Middle School in Lincoln County. That's until the Lincoln County School Board fired her a week ago.
"They brought in allegations, actual allegations that I had tried to turn students gay, that I forced students to cross dress, that I showed them nude pictures of myself, all completely ridiculous," said Burns, who taught sixth and eighth grades. "My mouth dropped."
13NEWS reporter Alanna Autler exclusively obtained documents presented in a hearing that eventually led to Burns' termination last week.
In one letter, a parent accused Burns of "using slang words in front of the class" and stating "in front of the class that she is a lesbian." The same parent also wrote about how Burns rarely assigned work and reviewed material.
"I certainly never discussed the aspects of my sexual life with any student nor would I," Burns said.
In a memo reportedly written by a student or several students, Burns is accused of other actions including," she made us boys wear dresses" and "she tried to turn some of us gay."
In Burns' actual termination letter, administrators make no mention of these actions or her sexuality as a reason for her firing.
Instead the letter reads officials found Burns unsatisfactory in:
"Classroom Climate, Instructional Management System, and Student Progress."
Administrators put Burns on suspended leave without pay in January 2013 and fired her last week.
Burns has since then filed a grievance complaint against Lincoln County Schools because she said she believes the manner in which she was fired was unfair. Among many things, Burns said she wishes the people who made accusations against her attended the meeting and identified themselves.
Patricia Lucas, the superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, said she can't discuss Burns' termination because it involves a personnel issue. But Lucas did say that Burns opted for a closed meeting for her termination hearing. That's why Lucas said officials can't comment on the issue.
She also mentioned that Lincoln County Schools has never fired anyone for being gay.
Kecia Clay was a student at Guyan Valley Middle School and now her children are students there.
She said she's unsure what to believe about the situation.
"This is a wonderful school," Clay said. "I just can't imagine any teacher doing that to a student."
Burns said she feels victimized because she claimed these accusations have little to do with her teaching.
"I think we all know if this was in San Francisco, this wouldn't be happening," Burns said. " I know what first hand it feels like to get discriminated against."