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Putnam school board suspends teacher, fires aide

WINFIELD, W.Va. -- Putnam County Board of Education members met in closed session for more than two hours Monday night before suspending a Winfield Elementary School teacher and terminating a teacher's aide at Winfield High School.Denise Edwards, a special education teacher at Winfield Elementary, was suspended without pay for three days for what the agenda said was "insubordination, and violation of the Employee Code of Conduct."Neither Edwards nor her attorney would comment after the executive session."Ms. Edwards is great. I'll stay until midnight or 1 a.m. if I need to," said Billie Jo Elder, of Buffalo, who said Edwards has been her son's teacher for about the past five years.Elder wouldn't elaborate on what she believed the suspension was about because she didn't want to harm Edwards' case.Cora Combs, a county bus driver, and Charles Edwards, an aide in Denise Edward's classroom, also both came to support the teacher."I don't know what it's about, but I told her I'd be here if she needed me to speak," Combs said.Also at the meeting, school board members terminated Lori Harrison, a special education teacher's aide at Winfield High School. Superintendent Chuck Hatfield said it was a separate matter from Edwards's suspension.
Harrison, who the agenda said had been suspended since March 12, was fired effective Monday night, for "violation of the Employee Code of Conduct, insubordination and immorality."She was not at the meeting, Hatfield said.In other business, board members scheduled a meeting for April 16 to approve the school levy rate for 2014. Treasurer Chris Campbell said the rate declined slightly from last year, and is down a half-cent per $100.Also Monday, board members recognized three county teachers who attained National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certifications.Those recognized were: Holly Hoover, a language arts teacher at Winfield Middle School, Courtney Ruppert, a language arts teacher at Hurricane Middle School, and Rachelle Williams, a Title I reading and math teacher at Poca Elementary School.Reach Kate White at or 304-348-1723.  
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