Teacher gun case nowhere near end

Published 12:26 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

By Stephanie Nelson

The Brewton Standard

The case of the former Flomaton High School band director fired for having a loaded weapon on school grounds in 2012 is no closer to resolution.

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The firing occurred in 2012 when John Lambert, a part-time tenured teacher at FHS, was found to have a fully loaded pistol and fully loaded clip on school property May 11, 2012. The pistol was found in a zippered case inside a gym bag in Lambert’s locked office in the locked band room, and Lambert was off campus at a band competition when the pistol was found by a school custodian, Rita Folmar.

Lambert initially resigned, but rescinded his resignation and requested a hearing before the board. Lambert was placed on administrative leave and a hearing was scheduled for July 23, 2012. The Escambia County Board of Education voted 6-to-1 to fire Lambert. That decision was appealed and heard by an arbitrator that December, who upheld the board’s decision.

Since then, the case has bounced from one court to another – from the Court of Civil Appeals to the state Supreme Court, who remanded the case back to the arbitrator earlier this year.

Monday, the board again was faced with “the next step” in the case.

“The high court remanded that case back to the original arbitrator who recommended a possible suspension not exceed one year,” board attorney Broox Garrett said. “However, it is the board’s decision.”

After a nearly one-hour executive session, the board publicly voted 6-to-1 to appeal the arbitrator’s recommendation.