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School board suspends teacher

The West Fargo School Board suspended an elementary music teacher Wednesday for violating school policy over an Oct.

The West Fargo School Board suspended an elementary music teacher Wednesday for violating school policy over an Oct. 5 incident in her classroom.

Board members unanimously voted to suspend Mavis Tjon with pay and benefits during a special meeting.

They also agreed to conduct a hearing in two or three weeks to determine whether she will be fired, district lawyer Jon Arntson said.

Members would not comment after the 35-minute meeting, referring all questions to Arntson.

Tjon also declined to comment.

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Her Fargo lawyer, Al Baker, asked board members to refer the matter to Superintendent Dana Diesel Wallace. He said suspending or even firing Tjon is unjustified, considering she has an exemplary teaching record with the district.

Baker declined to comment after the meeting.

The board hired Tjon in 2000 to teach music classes at the district's six elementary schools.

Heather Klundt, a nine-year West Fargo High School orchestra teacher who attended Wednesday's meeting, said Tjon is a confident, calm teacher who lectures students if needed.

"I've always known her to be very nurturing," said Klundt, who has known Tjon for more than 20 years. "She will reprimand you if you need it, but never physically."

The board has not fired a teacher in the nine years Klundt has been with the district, she said.

The board can fire or suspend teachers for reasons ranging from insubordination and conduct unbecoming a staff member to gross inefficiency and the failure to perform assigned duties, according to a supervision and evaluation rules.

Klundt said she and other teachers don't know what happened in Tjon's classroom a week ago that spurred the special meeting.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Joe Whetham at (701) 241-5557

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