Written by Sue Kiesewetter Enquirer contributor Dec. 23, 2013
FAIRFIELD — A Fairfield Freshman School teacher has been suspended without pay and faces the prospect of dismissal after allegedly making racially insensitive statements to a student earlier this month.
Monday, the Fairfield Board of Education suspended science teacher Gil Voigt. He has 10 days to request a hearing before the school board or a referee.
Voigt, who is white, is accused of telling an African-American male student, “We do not need another black president” after the student said he would like to become president.
The incident occurred on Dec. 3, with several other students present, according to a report from Assistant Superintendent Roger Martin, who conducted a disciplinary hearing on the matter.
It isn’t the first time the 14-year Fairfield teacher has been disciplined. He received a verbal warning for making an inappropriate racial comment in 2008. That year he also received a verbal warning for improper use of school technology.
Last year he received a verbal warning after allegedly calling a student “stupid” and belittling him. He received a written warning last month for failure to use the adopted curriculum.
“This is a rare occurrence. This is the first time I’ve faced it since being named assistant superintendent (in 2011),” Martin said.
In his report, Martin said he believed four students were interviewed who corroborated the student Voigt was speaking to.
Following a complaint by the student’s parents, the teen was removed from Voigt’s class, Martin said.
“We intend to uphold board policies and to hold teachers accountable for the essential functions of the teacher job description,” Martin said.
Voigt is accused of violating board policies related to staff ethics, staff-student relations and harassment.
Voigt was not present at the meeting and could not be reached on Monday for comment.
According to the report, Voigt said his statement was misquoted by the student, who he said was not a very good student and was troublesome in class.
Voigt has been a Fairfield teacher since 2000. Before that he taught seven years in North Carolina, two years in Florida and six years in the Cincinnati Public Schools.