Parents Voice Concern Over “LoJo’s” Suspension

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa-- A Southeast Polk High School substitute teacher is out of a job after attempting to discipline a student.

Whether Lois Johnson will be reinstated is in the hands of the school board.

“She is South East Polk," parent Kim Turnbaugh said.

Johnson is a longtime educator who kept teaching as substitute after retirement. She was suspended over claims of violating district policy. A group of students say she took a disruptive classmate by the arm to guide him back to his seat.

Many are frustrated by the suspension.

“I want her reinstated she was my teacher and my daughter’s teacher three generations there is no way this can happen," Turnbaugh said.

Thousands followed Turnbaugh lead and signed a petition to reinstate Johnson. Many of those supporters attended Thursday’s school board meeting to voice concern.

During public comment, the board tried to cut Johnson's attorney Frank Smith short. Smith says his client didn’t break the rules and the district didn’t follow policy.

According to South East Polk School District, an employee can use minor reasonable physical contact to maintain order and control. And all matters must be addressed to the teacher or employee first.

“She was not given her chance and her due process, and I think that is completely wrong," Turnbaugh said.

Ultimately, it’s up to the school board to decide whether Johnson will keep her job

Frank Smith says Lois just wants her job back.

The school district wouldn't comment on Lois' suspension but did say they are committed to supporting a professional work environment where employees are valued and respected.

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