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SAMUEL R. CLARK v. COLONIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT (07/06/78)

decided: July 6, 1978.

SAMUEL R. CLARK, PETITIONER
v.
COLONIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Samuel R. Clark v. Board of School Directors of the Colonial School District, Teacher Tenure Appeal No. 256.

COUNSEL

Richard W. Rogers, with him Rogers, King & Cole, for petitioner.

Raymond M. Seidel, with him High, Swartz, Roberts & Seidel, for respondent.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 420]

Samuel R. Clark has appealed from an order of the Secretary of Education upholding the action of Clark's employer, Colonial School District (School District), dismissing him from employment.

Clark was a regular professional employee engaged by the School District as an English teacher in one of its junior high schools. On June 14, 1974 Clark was notified that the performance of his duties during the 1973-1974 school year had been rated unsatisfactory, that there were indications that his health was affecting his work and that unless he agreed to an evaluation by a physician certified in psychiatry he would be suspended from his duties as a teacher. Clark sought and obtained a preliminary injunction from the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County restraining the School District from compelling him to submit to a psychiatric evaluation. In the litigation he later agreed to be examined by a disinterested, impartial physician. The injunction was lifted. Pursuant to the

[ 36 Pa. Commw. Page 421]

    agreement of the parties Clark was to recommend two disinterested impartial psychiatrists to the School District which would select one to conduct the evaluation. Clark selected only one psychiatrist, a Dr. Claney, and the School District accepted him. On or about August 21, 1974, Clark was suspended with pay pending Dr. Claney's report.

Dr. Claney conducted two interviews with Clark and also reviewed several School District memoranda of interviews with Clark. By a letter dated October 19, 1974 addressed to Clark's counsel, with copy to School District's superintendent, Dr. Claney reported that:

I think it is fairly certain that Mr. Clark has a paranoid problem that decompensated at the end of the school year, in June of 1974, into states of delusion. . . . I do not see Mr. Clark as ever taking the pressures of the classroom setting again. Whether or not he would become too paranoid around people in a minor administrative position is one of conjecture but is most probable.

As a result of Dr. Claney's report, Clark was notified in a letter dated November 5, 1974, over the signature of the vice-president of the school board, attested by the secretary, that a hearing would be held on November 18, 1974, to determine whether Clark should be dismissed on the charge of "mental derangement which manifests itself in such manner as to render you incompetent to properly discharge your duties and responsibilities as a teacher." Hearings were held by the school board. Clark did not testify and presented no witnesses in his own behalf at these hearings. It is not necessary to repeat the testimony of ...


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