Khalilah Forte, the Trotwood-Madison High School teacher whose contract was non-renewed Thursday night by the school board, had been reprimanded in March for allowing a student to spend the night at her home, according to documents in her personnel file obtained by the Dayton Daily News.
An April 4 letter from district Treasurer Janice Allen says high school Principal David White wouldn’t recommend renewing Forte’s contract for next school year. White based his decision on, “concerns regarding your professionalism. This includes conflicts with peers as well as concerns regarding your relationships with students outside the classroom,” the letter says.
The March 7 reprimand letter from White addresses a female student spending the night at Forte’s home. It suggests the issue has come up before.
“I have spoken to you prior to this incident about students being at your home when school is out for the day or on weekends,” White’s letter reads. “This is a violation of district policy.”
Forte signed that reprimand but wrote in at the bottom, “I’m signing this statement and I am not in agreement with the reprimand …”
Also in Forte’s file is a six-page letter marked received April 3, in which Forte describes her efforts to help the struggling 18-year-old female student in question, who she said had been left alone in Trotwood when her mother and siblings moved to Indiana.
Forte wrote that she told multiple school officials that she was considering taking the girl in, saying some of them encouraged it and none of them said it would be a violation.
Forte, who has taught business classes at Trotwood-Madison High School the past two years, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. Her personnel file doesn’t include any district discipline for “conflicts with peers” as mentioned in the non-renewal letter.
At Thursday’s school board meeting, Forte repeated claims that she was being disciplined for taking a few dozen students on a college visit trip last month that the district didn’t sponsor. The personnel file doesn’t include any mention from the district about the trip.
“I’m guilty of loving kids. I’m guilty of wanting education for each one of my kids in the district,” Forte said at the school board meeting. “I’m guilty of feeding kids. I’m guilty of wanting to expose them to a world of possibilities.”
Several students and community members spoke up on Forte’s behalf at the meeting.
School district officials have said they won’t discuss the details of personnel decisions, with school board President Denise Moore repeating that statement Thursday night.
Staff Writer Sean Cudahy also contributed to this report.