717 S.W.2d 837 (1986)

BOARD OF EDUCATION OF HOPKINS COUNTY, Kentucky, and David Gover, in His Official Capacity as Superintendent of theHopkins County Schools, and Robert Eminston, Shirley Thomas, Hellon Fruit, Tim Cantrell and Walter Prowse, in their Individual and Official Capacities as Members of the HopkinsCounty Board of Education, Appellants,


Greg WOOD & Donnie Wood, Appellees.

Supreme Court of Kentucky.
October 16, 1986.

Two brothers, Greg Wood and Donnie Wood were fired after smoking marijuana with two fifteen year old girls in their apartment. The teachers were arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The two brothers appealed the decision, based on being tenured and not in violation of contract when the incident happened because school was in recess for summer vacation. The Board of Education stated the teachers acted in an inappropriate manner befitting a teacher and was fired after a due process hearing. The brothers appealed the case all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court.


The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Hopkins Board of Ed, stating that the Wood’s brothers acted in a “criminal manor” that forfeits their tenure rights. According to the court, “The purpose of teacher tenure laws is to promote good order in the school system by preventing the arbitrary removal of capable and experienced teachers by political or personal whim.”


Teachers that have reached tenure can still be fired for acting in an unmoral fashion or in a criminal manner. The protection of tenure only extends to being fired arbitrarily or for political/personal reasons. Teachers are looked up to and seen as role models, any character flaws will be picked up by students and sometimes repeated. A teacher must have a high moral compass and walk a fine line when it comes to moral issues.

Question: Does acting in a "criminal manor" forfeit a teacher's tenure rights?

Jennifer Carmack
Rebekah Watson