Ex-Tipp City teacher had attendance problems, records show

A Tippecanoe High School teacher submitted his resignation Tuesday, the same day a pre-disciplinary hearing was scheduled for failing to report to work and failing to follow protocol for reporting absences.

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The resignation of Garrett Morris from his position as high school social studies teacher and adviser for the Model United Nations program was accepted Wednesday in an emergency meeting called by the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education.

Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said district policy was to not comment on specific personnel issues. She said Morris had been on leave since Tuesday.

Documents obtained from the Tipp City schools personnel files showed the Oct. 23 hearing was scheduled after Morris failed to report to work Oct. 22 for the second time this school year. Morris received a verbal reprimand last school year and written reprimand earlier this school year for a similar incident Sept. 6, according to letters from Tippecanoe High School Principal Steve Verhoff.

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“There is a continuing pattern regarding your attendance that is troubling. Since last school year, there have been six instances where you have not followed proper protocol regarding an unplanned absence, including your absence on Oct. 22,” Verhoff wrote.

The letter noted Morris had used 34.5 days of personal and sick leave since employment in August 2016.

The failure to report to work and follow protocol meant school officials could not secure a substitute in a timely manner, requiring covering of some classes internally, Verhoff wrote. He said students also were left without lesson plans.

In the written reprimand, Verhoff said on Sept. 6 Morris overslept “multiple hours past your scheduled start time. You failed to notify school personnel of your absence. You also failed to answer your phone in response to numerous phone calls made to you by high school staff to ascertain your whereabouts … At 11:42 a.m. you finally contacted the high school to report you had been out late the night before and had overslept,” the letter said.

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Morris was in his third year with the district, teaching in the social studies department, according to the school district website. Morris wrote on his teacher profile posted on the site that he was from Kettering and graduated from Miami University before teaching in Cincinnati and then Louisiana before returning to Ohio for the 2016-17 school year.

In a resignation letter to Verhoff dated Oct. 23, Morris said the resignation was effective immediately.

“I am proud to have worked for the Tipp City Schools and I appreciate the time and patience you have shown me,” Morris wrote.

In a written statement, Kumpf and Verhoff said teacher reassignments and use of substitutes was underway along with hiring of a long-term substitute.

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Letters dated today, Oct. 25, were being sent to parents by Verhoff. The letters said the resignation was accepted by the board and outlined the plans for filling the teaching positions for his classes.

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