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11/17/2012 11:38:00 AM
Williams High School teacher suspended
Sheldon White placed on administrative leave after locking three students in art room closet
Williams High School. Photo/WGCN
Williams High School. Photo/WGCN
Williams-Grand Canyon News

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams School Board members suspended Williams High School (WHS) teacher Sheldon White for the remainder of the fall semester after he locked three students in a storage closet for over 30 minutes Oct. 3. Board members made the decision during an executive session of the Williams School Board meeting Nov. 14.

According to information from the Williams Police Department, the students were going in and out of the closet and White, a 17-year employee with the school district, told them to stop. When they would not come out, White locked the students in the closet for the remainder of the period.

The students contacted WHS Principal Tristan Heisley, who notified the school superintendent, parents, and police. The Williams Police Department investigated the incident. The Coconino County Attorney's office eventually turned down charges of unlawful imprisonment filed by the Williams Police Department.

Immediately following the incident, the board placed White on paid administrative leave.

Police Chief Herman Nixon, also a school board member, recused himself when the Board considered disciplinary action. The four remaining school board members, initially deadlocked over whether to fire White, agreed to a settlement during executive session. White will be suspended without pay for a total of 19 days and will return to work in January.

After the executive session, School Board President Kristi Fredrickson said that she felt the punishment was appropriate.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 15, 2012
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

I say bring back swats with a paddle!
I guess that would be to tough on todays kids who dont even get spanked.

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012
Article comment by: Another Viewpoint

While I am sure the students in questions did indeed deserve being punished for their misconduct, I also understand why the district suspended Mr. White.

I too, was once a student of Mr. White and found him to be exceedingly arrogant, often more interested in chumming up with the boys than actually teaching. His methods of punishment in class did often seem to toe the lines of what the school board would deem appropriate. It is no surprise that it has been recognized, finally.

A teacher needs to present leadership and quality decision making skills in this instance he was lacking both.

To be fair, the students should be punished for their disruption as well.

Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Article comment by: Laura Crespo

When I was in school there teachers always did the right thing and the students were properly punished. What happened? Did the higher ups lose control? Mr. White is a good guy and if it were my child acting like an idiot and not listening as a mother of a 14 yr old I would like to see my kid punished. If you want to break the rules then take your punishment. Bring in the common sense people.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Doan Trustem

All of these comments here in support of the teacher are great. Sadly, they are too little, too late. Your attendance at the regular school board meetings is required as responsible community members. This is just one example of the poor judgement the school administrators and school board members are capable of putting into action or adopting into policy. Don't trust them! Show up and keep them honest!

Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012
Article comment by: Anessa Amavizca

I was in the class at the time this was all going on, Mr.White did tell them to get out, infact he told them several times, the only reason why they were in there was to talk about how much they like each other (Tana and Sage) Monique just happened to go on at the wrong time. Mr.White did NOTHING wrong. I honestly don't think it's fair that we had to lose a teacher for about half the year just because people like each other. I think they should ask people who were in the class at the time what happened because the people who were on the closet are only going to tell you what they want you to know.

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Article comment by: Manuel Jaramillo

Typo in my earlier comment....

My point was, were the students punished? I think not, NOR did the school board think.

The board just made a dangerous precedent with its poor decision. Now, you can expect bad behavior to continue.

Why?... because troublemaker now know they can cause issues without fear of reprisal!!!

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Creager

As a retired school bus driver in las Vegas for 15 years, I fully understand and know of the pranks our youth of today are capable of. Please stand behind this teacher! The children need to learn lifes lessons and to respect the elders. Unruly behavior should not be tolerated in our schools! It's that simple.

Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Article comment by: throw the kids out of school too

Well it is not like he "forced" them into the closet and then locked the door. They went in acting like fools, and he locked the door. Didn't they want to be in there? Kids actin the fool and the teacher gets the bad rap.

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012
Article comment by: Dana Dunn

Mr. White is an excellent teacher! Parents should teach their kids to respect teachers rather than to cause such a display of
disobedience to be publicized. My son Brandon who had Mr. White said "they got what they deserved".

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012
Article comment by: BRENDA ADAMS

I support Sheldon White.. I am disappointed in the school board for suspending him without pay.. He has been with the district for years and has done a fine job teaching students. It is not his fault that these kids do not follow direction and if they continued to interrupt his class then the right action from him was due, he as the teacher should not of been disrespected. Give him his job back and back pay him. This is ridiculous...

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012
Article comment by: Bud Daniels

This sends a bad message to the students involved. Leave the teacher alone.

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012
Article comment by: Steve Stone

Why not a story about (2) Williams Police Officers resigning in lieu of termination, and (2) suspended? Locking three kids in a closet is an attempt to create a divertion from real news.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Mike Forester

Those kids wanted to be in the closet. Nobody pushed them in. They should learn to behave and their parents should teach them to do what the teacher says! This thing really was overblown.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: John Parry

Expel the little darlings. Leave the teacher alone.

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012
Article comment by: Manuel Jaramillo

Were the two students who started and continued the inappropriate behavior?

I'm assuming not, based on this article and the TV media.

One of the students involved said, on television news, "we had been told not to go into the closet before, but we weren't told this time".

It's no wonder schools across the nation continue to have issues. The children do not learn respect for authority or play by the rules. They whine and ultimately get their way.

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