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Gene Brown Elementary principal suspended without pay

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Deryl Gentry

Gene Brown Elementary School Principal Deryl Gentry has been suspended without pay pending an investigation into whether or not he had an inappropriate relationship with an employee.

The suspension became effective Sept. 4, according to a letter in the principal's personnel file dated Sept. 6.

The letter states that Gentry is suspended without pay "pending investigation against you regarding the charge of an inappropriate relationship with an employee under your supervision."

It also states that the school system has made several attempts to meet with Gentry and discuss the allegations and that he told them he couldn't meet with them because of orders from his doctor.

Sumner County Schools' Spokesperson Jeremy Johnson confirmed the suspension but declined to comment further citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

"The school system is working as quickly as we can to get to the bottom of this issue," said Johnson.

Gentry, 48, was hired by the Sumner County Board of Education to lead Gene Brown Elementary in June 2014 after working for five years as a compliance monitor with the Tennessee Department of Education.

A review of Gentry's personnel file also found that the principal received a written reprimand on Aug. 1, 2017 for displaying "inappropriate or unprofessional conduct which can be construed as harassment toward the staff," on multiple occasions throughout the school year.

In particular, it says that Gentry was reported to have used obscene language and inappropriate comments at a Teacher Appreciation dinner in May at Hendersonville Church of Christ.

Parents whose children attend the school received a letter late Friday informing them of a "structural leadership change" at the school, according to the letter.

District Elementary Instructional Coordinator Susan Breitling has been assigned to the campus for assistance and administrative support.

"We will notify you as soon as possible about any permanent leadership changes that will impact GBE," concludes the letter from Director of Schools Del Phillips.

Gentry filed a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee in Jan. 2015 in Davidson County Circuit Court, alleging he was terminated by the Department of Education for reporting sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. The case was moved to U. S. District Court in August 2015. Both parties appear to have reached an agreement, and the case was administratively closed in March, according to court documents.

The principal could not be immediately reached for comment.

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