Originally created 10/06/01

Criticism results in suspension



GREENVILLE, S.C. - An elementary school teacher says she was suspended for two days without pay after a letter she wrote criticizing the school administration was published in the local newspaper.

Kay Newsom-Smith, a fifth-grade teacher at Augusta Circle Elementary, wrote a letter to the editor complaining about district officials' asking teachers to switch portable classrooms three weeks into the school year. The letter was published in The Greenville News on Wednesday.

District Superintendent Bill Harner did not want to comment on the issue because it's a personnel matter but referred to a past speech he made about the district's core values.

"Loyalty is a two-way street," said the retired Army lieutenant colonel and former West Point instructor.

In her letter, Ms. Newsom-Smith called the district negligent for failing to inform teachers at the beginning of the school year that some of the portable classrooms would be hauled away.

"In my 31 years of teaching in Greenville County, I have seen many changes of school board members and superintendents, but the irresponsibility rolls on and on," she wrote in the letter.