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PETITION BACKS TEACHER ACCUSED BY STUDENT

A petition with more than 1,000 signatures asks the Morgan School Board to reconsider the resignation of teacher Dave Clark, who allegedly threw a 12-year-old student against a door and across a hallway.

Clark, a popular math teacher at Morgan Middle School and assistant football coach at Morgan High School, resigned effective the end of the school year after a sheriff's investigation.At a school board meeting Tuesday, Debbie Smith drew applause when she said, "Let's not reward a child's insolence and sacrifice Clark on the altar of terrorism."

The sheriff's investigation, including 23 taped interviews of students who witnessed the Feb. 6 incident, "pretty much confirmed" the seventh-grade boy's version, said Morgan County Attorney J.D. Poorman.

The youth said Clark physically threw him from a classroom after the student complained about seating arrangements. Officials said Clark denied "throwing" the boy but admitted using force.

Poorman said he never decided whether to prosecute because school officials were negotiating with the boy's family. The family asked for Clark's resignation, an apology and no further contact with Clark.

Since the board accepted Clark's resignation March 14, each side says the other has violated what was negotiated.

Clark supporters said the student has bragged about getting the teacher fired, something the boy's family denies. The family said he has been threatened by other students.

The boy's parents last week pulled their son out of the school and are arranging for home teaching from the district, Superintendent J. Dale Christensen said.

He said 96 teachers and aides representing about 90 percent of the district faculty have signed another petition for Clark's reinstatement.

Christensen has said school officials did not ask for Clark's resignation.

Board President Stan Rees said after the meeting he will investigate any legal impediments to the board reviewing the case.