HCDE suspends three Howard High employees amid child abuse reporting investigation


Hamilton County Schools confirms three Howard High School employees have now been suspended.

Along with Dexter Bell, Counselor Jenny Smith & teacher Amelia James have been suspended pending investigation.

Matt Lea, Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson sent this response to NewsChannel 9 Saturday:

"The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office is aware of the situation and we will be consulting with the Hamilton County District Attorney in the coming week and offering any resources as needed to assist with the investigation."


Hamilton County Department of Education spokesperson Amy Katcher says the band director for Howard High School has been suspended.

In a statement released Saturday morning, the HCDE confirmed Mr. Bells suspension on allegations for failure to report child abuse.

The HCDE says they take "allegations of failure to report child abuse very seriously."

They say law enforcement and the Department of Children's Services have been notified.

In May of 2015, Dexter Bell was suspended after allegations of insubordination.

Later that month, Bell was reinstated.

In a letter, Bell admitted to refusing to meet with the Howard High School Principal, and that is what led to the suspension.

NewsChannel 9 was able to look at Bells personnel file.

It showed two other previous write ups. He was reprimanded in 1996 for a "total breakdown in communication" between band students and administration after the band he was supervising missed some performance requirements.

The second write up was in 2009 for not supervising students.

This is a developing story. Depend on NewsChannel 9 to keep you updated.

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