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Parent challenges board on 2013 case

Daniel Stiel, a parent of a former student at Jonesborough Middle School spoke before the Washington County Board of Education last week regarding what he called “an abuse cover up,” which ignited a reaction from other parents who wanted to speak on the matter.
The allegations were made about a former special education teacher at Jonesborough Middle School, Larry Manis. Manis was hired in August 2007 and on Oct. 30, 2013, he was suspended indefinitely pending an investigation for allegations of unprofessional conduct, according to his personnel records.
On Nov. 1, 2013, he officially retired.
Pat Hull of the Hull Law Firm said although allegations continue to be made, he and the school district are no longer involved in the outside investigation. He said he was involved in some allegations that involved Manis, but could not comment on any particulars because the case dealt with a minor.
According to Stiel, his child came home with a slash on his arm, as an alleged consequence of pliers and a knife. “The man used a knife on my son,” he told the board. “Something needs to be done.”
The child was also allegedly smacked on the back of the head and called a “dipstick,” according to a report filed with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
Stiel also told the board that his son was threatened and was taught how to receive and give oral sex.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes told Stiel that because these matters involve confidential records, he cannot and will not make a specific detailed response. He told the board that Stiel was not just speaking as a concerned citizen, but he was seeking money from the school system.
“It is unfortunate that he has involved the news media to further claims,” Dykes said.
Stiel said the money that was requested was to further his son’s education, so they can bring him back up to speed.
“I used the media because you weren’t listening,” he told the board.
During his speech, Stiel said he has gone to the sheriff’s department and has taken the issue as far as he could.
“Help us. Help our community. Help clean up our schools,” Stiel said to the board.
Stiel said they have moved to Florida and, because of false disciplinary reports placed on his son’s records, the family is having difficulty enrolling him into a school.
“We can’t enroll him until disciplinary measures were dismissed,” Stiel told the board about providing false disciplinary notes. “We cannot enroll him because he was mislabeled.”
Stiel said he drove 24-hours to speak before the board last week because it is “our responsibility to be there for our children. That’s why I’m here today.”
Dykes said the school system has responded appropriately as required by law and they will continue to do so. The allegations, he said, have been reported and investigated by proper authorities.
“No wrongdoing has been found,” Dykes said. “We are confident there is no liability on the school system.”
Before leaving the board room, Stiel looked at Dykes angrily and said, “You’re a criminal Mr. Dykes and you ought to be put in jail today.”
The other parents were not allowed to comment during the board meeting because they did not take the proper steps prior to the meeting to be added to the agenda to address the board.