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Brookshire resigns following allegations of sexual harassment

Chris Brookshire Chris Brookshire

After multiple allegations of sexual harassment were made against him, Physical Education Teacher and Head Football Coach Chris Brookshire has resigned from his post at Tuscola High School in Clyde.

“First, I want to express my appreciation to the multiple employees that came forward in this matter,” said Superintendent Dr. Trevor Putnam. “I am certain it was not an easy thing for them to do.”

In December, the Human Resources Department received multiple reports of Brookshire making inappropriate and unprofessional comments toward female colleagues. Brookshire was first suspended with pay on Dec. 7, and subsequently suspended without pay on Dec. 16. Putnam accepted Brookshire’s resignation Monday, Jan. 2. 

“As superintendent, my office has the responsibility to investigate any allegation of employee misconduct and to protect all employees of the district,” said Putnam. 

Following an investigation of this type, it is required that an employee is given the opportunity to review the allegations against them and respond. Brookshire did obtain a lawyer for the process. After reviewing the allegations against him, he submitted a rebuttal and his resignation on Jan. 2, choosing to forgo a hearing before the board of education. 

“I have accepted Brookshire’s resignation, which is effective immediately,” said Putnam. “Since this matter was reported in the media, I know our community has had a lot of questions and many have raised concerns over how this matter was handled. It is important to remember the school system is limited on what information it may release about employees.  State law requires most employee information to remain confidential, which makes it difficult for us to answer questions or address concerns about employee issues. While this may be frustrating for some, I hope our community realizes that every employee has a right for the process to finish before judgment is made.”

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Brookshire was hired as physical education teacher, head football coach, weights coach and junior varsity boys basketball assistant coach in January 2020. 

“There have been allegations made against me to Haywood County Schools’ Human Resources Department that I have made comments toward female co-workers that are inappropriate or unprofessional,” said Brookshire in a statement. “I apologize to anyone who I may have spoken with in a way that they deemed offensive or hurtful. It was not my intent to harm or offend anyone. I have determined that it is time for me to resign, as I in no way would want do [sic] anything to compromise the integrity of Tuscola High School, Tuscola football, or myself. I am grateful for my time at Tuscola and the support I’ve received from the school and community. I want nothing but the best for my players and the success of the football program moving forward.”

Tuscola Principal Heather Blackmon was suspended with pay on Dec. 16. She was hired on as principal in July of 2020. No decision has yet been made regarding her employment. 

When an employee is suspended with pay, they may be suspended for up to 90 days. If the superintendent does not initiate dismissal or demotion proceedings against the employee within the 90-day period, the employee must be reinstated to their duties immediately and all records of the suspension with pay can be removed from the personnel file. However, if the superintendent and the employee agree to extend the 90-day period, the superintendent may initiate dismissal or demotion proceedings against the career employee at any time during the period of the extension. 

In the meantime, Assistant Tuscola Principal Jacob Shelton will serve as lead administrator at the school. 

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