A beginning teacher who was notified her contract to teach in the prison's South Park Academy would not be renewed also has had her security clearance withdrawn by prison officials.
Although under the terms of her contract with Jordan School District Marsha Mahan could have completed the school year, the prison's action Monday makes it impossible, school officials said.A petition distributed to local news media Friday in support of Mahan is not credible, a Jordan administrator wrote in a letter to Superintendent Raymond Whittenburg. The petition bears 21 signatures, ostensibly those of students or former students of Mahan.
However, only seven of the prisoners who signed the petition had actually attended Mahan's classes, wrote Ralph Haws, administrator of Jordan's educational program services. Five never had been enrolled in South Park classes. Haws was out of his office Friday.
The petition should be regarded "with a certain degree of skepticism regarding its credibility," he wrote to Whittenburg.
Mahan was hired by the district, which contracts with the state to operate the prison school, effective Nov. 25, 1987. She was still on probation and had been told her contract would not be renewed, said Jordan District spokeswoman Patty Dahl.
Marty Kelly, prison education coordinator, would say only that Mahan had been guilty of security infractions. She did not describe those infractions.
Dahl said Mahan's violations of security rules were well-documented.
The student petition said the teacher had attributes that made her a good choice as a prison instructor. The charges against her are the result of jealousy and are fabricated, the petition says.
"She alone has probably done more for our rehabilitation because of her unique teaching abilities and professional experiences than any of the related programs offered in prison. Her return would certainly benefit those lucky enough to enroll in her class."
Dahl said it appeared Mahan had herself instigated the petition.
Attempts to reach Mahan were not successful.