Blackman High School
Officials with the Tennessee Board of Education are seeking to revoke the license of a teacher under investigation by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office for allegations of assaulting students and being a possible child abuse perpetrator.
The Sheriff’s Office, with cooperation from Rutherford County Schools, continues to investigate Blackman High School teacher Richard C. Kimberly, who is a criminal justice instructor, head bowling coach and assistant boys’ soccer coach.
Kimberly was suspended without pay by now-retired Rutherford County Schools Director Harry Gill Jr. in April after administrators asked the Sheriff’s Office to investigate a complaint about Kimberly. Gill told investigators Kimberly allegedly had “inappropriate conduct with students” and violated school board policies.
Kimberly is scheduled to appear Thursday, Aug. 23, for an appeal hearing on the matter.
Detective Sgt. Mickey McCullough of the Family Crimes and Special Victims Unit was requested to investigate Kimberly in April, and the investigation that remains active.
The case was presented to the Rutherford County Child Protection and Intervention Team and District Attorney William Whitesell by a supervisor and investigator from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services Special Investigative Unit.
The results were presented to Rutherford County Schools’ attorney Angel McCloud.
Rutherford County Schools notified the state Board of Education about the allegations. Tennessee School Board attorney Danelle F. Walker notified Kimberly in a July 16 letter that his license is subject to revocation for good cause.
“The board proposes to seek revocation of your teaching license for your assaulting of students and Children Services indication as a perpetrator of child abuse,” Walker said in the letter.
Kimberly has 30 days to request a hearing before the state licensing board. If he does not request a hearing, Walker said she would recommend his license be revoked.
As part of the investigation, McCullough obtained a letter from Blackman Principal Gail Vick to Kimberly Feb. 28 advising him that communicating with students through social media outside of the classroom is inappropriate.
“As your principal, my expectation is that you will refrain from social connections with students outside of school either by social media or otherwise,” Vick wrote. “Failure to comply with these expectations will result in further disciplinary action.”
McCullough also obtained an e-mail from Kimberly to Vick after he met with Gill.
“I am still awaiting his decision on the consequences of my poor judgment in being involved in the horseplay at the back of the bus,” Kimberly said in the e-mail. “I wanted to write to you and let you know that I am truly sorry to have caused you more stress and disappointment in me.”
The latest episode brought his inability to see things at times that he needed to, Kimberly said.
“I certainly now see how things looked and how bad it appeared for me to be in the middle of those activities,” Kimberly said. “As I told Gill, this latest turn of events has certainly caught my attention and I assure you I will not allow myself to be drawn in to such things in the future. I know that in my position as teacher and coach I must set the proper standard before my students and players.
“I am hoping this lesson will not be too costly,” he added.
McCullough said if anyone has information or concerns about their children’s contact with Kimberly to contact him at 615-904-3043.