- The Washington Times
Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Georgia public school district has scheduled an oral argument to decide the fate of a high school athletic director who slammed a female student against a wall while questioning her about bringing a loaded gun to school.

Police bodycam footage from Aug. 20 shows Kenneth Miller, a longtime gym teacher and football coach at Tri-Cities High School in East Point, pushing the unidentified student after she slapped a cellphone out of his hand.

School officials located the loaded firearm in a bag shortly after the incident, which took place in the presence of two school resource officers and an assistant principal.

Allen Lightcap, the attorney representing Mr. Miller, said they learned Thursday morning that Fulton County Schools has scheduled the 30-minute hearing for 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

“Coach Miller’s case is important because it highlights the danger in our public schools and the need to stand up for the teachers who protect our children. Part of standing up for teachers is recognizing their right to self-defense,” Mr. Lightcap said.

Fulton County Schools, the district for the campus located southwest of Atlanta, confirmed in a statement shared with The Washington Times that the coach has been on paid administrative leave while he exhausts his “due process rights.”

“Mr. Miller acted outside of the scope of his authority and responsibilities,” the statement says. “The district will not engage Mr. Miller or his attorneys in a public debate on this matter, but instead will allow the facts to drive the outcome of any related decision.”

The statement alleges that the coach acted unprofessionally when he “inappropriately intervened” in a matter that the assistant principal and school resource officers were already handling, causing the “escalation of a physical altercation with a student in crisis.”

Mr. Miller has repeatedly denied doing anything wrong.

“I love all Tri-Cities students and hope I can one day get back to the one and only Bulldogs,” Mr. Miller told The Times.

The athletic director has argued that the school’s hostile environment and the need to prevent a campus shooting justified his actions.

In a letter posted on the Tri-Cities High School website, principal Ethel Lett says she is considering random K-9 dog sweeps and weapons checks in response to recent “concerning behaviors” on campus.

Mr. Lightcap, the attorney, said he is prepared to file a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging a lack of due process if the school district moves to terminate Mr. Miller at the upcoming oral argument.

“The student who is on video attacking him brought a loaded gun to school that day,” Mr. Lightcap said. “Coach Miller was in the process of locating that gun when she attacked him.”

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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