Guilford teacher quits in book flap

Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
09/19/2007

GUILFORD — A freshman English teacher resigned Tuesday, a week after being placed on administrative leave for giving a female student “inappropriate” reading material.

Nate Fisher submitted his resignation, effective immediately, on Tuesday, according to a letter he sent to the school district.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Forcella said Fisher gave the freshman girl an “inappropriate” graphic novel as part of an outside reading assignment. Forcella would not name the book or describe the objectionable elements.

“All I can say is it was, in my estimation, inappropriate for the grade level due to the content and the nature of the material,” he said.

Graphic novels feature longer narratives told in comic-book form. Forcella said that the book in question was only given to one student.

Fisher started as an English teacher at Guilford High School last September, according to the school district’s Web site. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday. Guilford High School Principal Rick Misenti did not return a call seeking comment.

Forcella said that Fisher gave the student the book during the first week of school, about two weeks ago. When administrators learned of the issue, they put Fisher on administrative leave.

“I met with the teacher and the principal, (and) we reviewed the material and initially placed him on leave, pending an investigation,” Forcella said.

He added the district had not yet started the investigation when Fisher resigned.

The police also received a complaint about the incident, said Deputy Chief Jeffrey Hutchinson. Because the case is still open, Hutchinson said, he can not discuss details.

For now, Forcella said, a certified English teacher is filling in as a long-term substitute in Fisher’s classroom. The district is advertising for a full-time teacher to replace Fisher.

Forcella added that administrators at the high school will talk with English teachers about the issue of assigning outside reading material.

“I believe the principal and the department head will talk to the department regarding the selection of materials in the classroom and the process we use to do that,” he said.

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