Gym teacher defends allegations of incompetency and neglect of students

by: Mark Winne Updated:


DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County physical education teacher is fighting accusations that he created an uncomfortable environment for students and other teachers.

Cross Keys High School physical education teacher William Burks Jr. told Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne the allegations won't stick because they are not true.

A charge letter from the DeKalb County School District, provided by his lawyer to Channel 2 Action News, alleges incompetency and neglect of duties and contains a list of alleged specifics ranging from calling students dumb-(expletive), using the "F-word" and to throwing a medicine ball at a student's head in the 2012-2013 school year.

Burks denies all of the allegations.

"Totally false," Burks told Winne. "The kids were upset about grades."

"Why would they be this upset?" Winne asked Burks.

"Well they thought they were failing," Burks answered.

Also listed in the charge letter were allegations Burks took cellphone videos of female students doing push-ups in the 2011-2012 school year.

"Did you video female students doing push-ups?" Winne asked Burks.

"Yes. One girl," Burks answered.

"Why?" Winne asked.

"She asked me to," Burks answered.

Burk's lawyer, Quinton Washington, said the school system wants to fire Burks by not renewing his contract. But he maintains the school board should not rule on Burks' case until the courts rule on a legal challenge of the new school board members, appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal, to replace old board members.

"The substance is going to be very tough to prove," Washington said. "The board is either legal or illegal."

In the meantime he said Burks should keep getting paid and maybe moved to another school.

Burks said he prefers his years teaching elementary school where he nurtured many students into self-confidence.

"If I don't fight this I wouldn't be true to what I tried to teach them. You stand up, you tell the truth, you face whatever consequences come with that," Burks said.

Concerning Washington's claims about the board's status, a statement from a schools spokesman said in part, "Legal matters are properly before the Supreme Court, which will rule on the issues in due time. In the interim, the School District will continue to employ and remove personnel as appropriate."

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