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Published December 06, 2010, 04:00 PM

Former Grand Forks Teacher Appeals Recent Firing

A former Grand Forks teacher fired in November for "conduct unbecoming a teacher" has filed an appeal in the Grand Forks County state District Court.

By: WDAZ Staff Reports,

A former Grand Forks teacher fired in November for "conduct unbecoming a teacher" has filed an appeal in the Grand Forks County state District Court, Superintendent Larry Nybladh said.

Nybladh said he was informed last week that Cornel Kilber, a former industrial technology teacher at Schroeder Middle School, filed the appeal.

Kilber was discharged from his contract after the school board finalized his firing in a 7-1 vote.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request by WDAZ, it was revealed that Kilber had complaints against him dating back to 1995. That year a group of 8 girls reported Kilber had touched their shoulders and called one of them "dear." Kilber was talked to about the incident by then principal James Stenehjem.

More recent examples were in the spring of last year, when a female 8th grade student filed a sexual harassment complaint against Kilber in April stating he had made inappropriate comments to her and had also touched her shoulders, hand, and thigh. Kilber was placed on leave and the complaint was investigated. Investigators found it did not meet sexual harassment standards.

The latest incident happened on September 1 of this school year, when a parent filed a complaint with the district. The complaint stated that while in the classroom Kilber used an example of bears eating people, and then singled out an African-American girl in his class and referred to her as a "chocolate one." The student and her parents were upset and complained to the district, which ultimately put Kilber on leave again and voted to terminate him.

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