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TIMELINE: Metro Schools investigations

Posted: 3:25 PM, Jan 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-18 21:49:04Z
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Multiple continuing NewsChannel 5 investigations have exposed on-going issues inside Metro Nashville Public Schools.

A 2007-2008 investigation revealed Nashville children were being sexually abused on special ed buses during the administration of former Schools Director Dr. Pedro Garcia. Click here for those stories.

A 2015-2016 investigation uncovered questions about the testing and grading practices inside Nashville schools under former Schools Director Dr. Jesse Register. Click here for those stories.

Following are the stories relating to the administration of current Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph:

Sept. 28, 2016: New MNPS Leaders Snag Lucrative Contracts

Metro's new director of schools is raising eyebrows with some lucrative deals he's handed out to his top lieutenants. As a result of questions raised by our investigation, they're promising to take a second look at one part of those new contracts.

Sept. 29, 2016: School Board Member Defends Salt Lake City Trip

A Metro School Board member is defending a trip out West that you paid for. Jill Speering recently tweeted about "having fun" on that trip -- just days before teachers and administrators were told about a freeze on their own travel.

Oct. 3, 2016: New MNPS Director Has 'Full Rein' On Spending

The head of the Metro School Board is defending the hefty pay and perks for the district's new leaders. Principals and teachers have already been warned that the district's new bosses plan to take a close look at spending inside the schools.

Oct. 4, 2016: MNPS Brass Hit Road Despite Travel Freeze

Add New Orleans to the list of destinations for some of Nashville's school board and the district's new bosses. That comes at a time that teachers are being told there's a freeze on trips they may want to get additional training.

Oct, 28, 2016: Schools Boss Denies Using MNPS Workers For House

Metro's new director of schools insists he hasn't billed taxpayers for work on his house. But an email from Joseph's assistant shows that staff was told the work would be "on the clock" -- meaning you would pay for it.

Oct. 31, 2016: Schools Director's Drivers: Waiting And Waiting

A NewsChannel 5 hidden-camera investigation raises new questions about how Metro's new director of schools spends your money. We spotted him using district employees as his personal chauffeurs - even on personal errands. That's despite his insistence that the school system's budget is tight.

Nov. 1, 2016: Taxpayers Pick Up Tab For Rent, Security Deposit

Nashville's new director of schools makes a lot more money than the mayor. So why have you been paying for his rent and the security deposit on his house? It's the latest question raised by an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation.

Nov. 3, 2016: MNPS Chair: 'I Don't Care What The Media Says'

"I don't care what the media says." That's the message from the chair of the Metro School Board in a forceful defense of the district's new director of schools.

Nov. 14, 2016: Critic Sees 'Cronyism' In Metro Schools Hiring

NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered that one of the common factors behind a lot of those hires is that they've previously worked with him in Maryland or Delaware -- or they've got connections to members of his inner circle.

Nov. 28, 2016: MNPS Boss Tells Staff To Ignore Hiring Questions

Metro Schools director Dr. Shawn Joseph ordered his staff not to answer NewsChannel 5's questions about his hiring practices, planning instead to attack the station's reporting after a story aired.

Jan. 11, 2017: MNPS Places Unlicensed Educators In Key Roles

An exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation has discovered that Metro Schools Director Shawn Joseph put unlicensed educators in positions of power inside the district. Now the state has ordered the district to remove any unlicensed principals.

Nov. 21, 2017: Metro Schools Administrator Placed On Leave

A key Metro Schools administrator faces an internal investigation following sexual harassment complaints from female colleagues, NewsChannel 5 has learned.

Dec. 8, 2017: Metro Schools Administrator Resigns

A high-ranking Metro Schools administrator, facing a sexual harassment investigation, has resigned. It came a day after Mo Carrasco spoke exclusively to NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Dec. 11, 2017: Former MNPS Administrator Insists He's Innocent

A former Metro Schools administrator insists he's innocent of sexual harassment allegations that cost him his job last week. In the end, Carrasco said he came to believe there just wasn't a way for him to get a fair hearing.

Dec. 12, 2017: 'People Need To Know The Truth'

A former Metro Schools insider says Nashville schools aren't making the progress that district leaders want you to believe. The former administrator claims he made enemies, after complaining about how the school system does business.

Dec. 12, 2017: Second MNPS Administrator Resigns

A second Metro Schools administrator has resigned following a sexual harassment investigation. An internal investigation recently concluded that he did touch a subordinate's arm "in a manner that was unwelcome."

Dec. 20, 2017: MNPS Holiday Party Sparks Twitter Controversy

A Metro Schools holiday party for Central Office staff has erupted into a social media controversy, ending with a district spokesperson blocking an MNPS teacher who questioned her Twitter posts.

Dec. 22, 2017: MNPS Director Blames 'Bitter, Unhappy People'

Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph, in a holiday message sent to all district employees, took aim at "bitter, unhappy people." The email followed a recent controversy over a holiday party for Central Office employees that included giveaways of gift cards, even a 65-inch television.

April 5, 2018: 'Unauthorized' Spending Skyrockets Inside MNPS

Amid a Metro Schools spending crunch, an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation has uncovered millions of dollars in questionable spending. We discovered that, for the past two years, the district has repeatedly violated its own purchasing rules.

April 6, 2018: MNPS Bypasses Board On Questionable Contracts

Did Metro's schools director make an end run around his own school board when it came to a big contract with a company he liked? That's what one Metro Council member is asking, after yet more questionable contracts uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

April 9, 2018: MNPS Board Members Request Investigation

Two Metro School Board members are calling for an investigation into how the school district has spent your money. It follows questions first raised by the district's spending by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

April 10, 2018: Schools Director Draws Rebuke From Council Chair

Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph drew a strong rebuke from the chair of the Metro Council's education committee. It followed a heated meeting the night before in which Joseph chastised two School Board members for publicly questioning contracts awarded during his administration.

April 12, 2018: Metro School Board Plans Secret Budget Talks

The Metro School Board had planned to discuss the district's controversial $924 million budget proposal during an unannounced "retreat." That meeting did not appear on the board calendar on the district's website. It was also absent from the schedule of budget-related meetings that the district had publicized.

April 13, 2018: MNPS Cries 'Fake News,' Changes Its Story Again

Metro Nashville Public Schools sent out a news release Friday attacking NewsChannel 5, after the district was forced to cancel a school board retreat where it planned to discuss the district's $924 million budget out of the public eye.

May 14, 2018: School Director's Rap Song Sparks Controversy

It's a song that Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph says sometimes plays in his head during difficult meetings of the Metro School Board, and it's now triggered an official complaint by one board member.

May 15, 2018: Minority Caucus Defends Dr. Joseph

Council members publicly defended Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph following a report by NewsChannel 5 Investigates. The minority caucus says school board member Jill Speering's complaint over the use of a rap song is racially motivated.

July 23, 2018: Nashville Principal Accused Of Improper Conduct

Among the allegations against John F. Kennedy Middle School principal Dr. Sam Braden: unwanted sexual advances, sexually suggestive comments, and efforts to intimidate those who speak out. He's even accused of hiring one school worker from a local adult bookstore that he frequented.

July 24, 2018: School Bookkeeper: 'Someone Needs To Do Audit'

Employees at a Nashville middle school were concerned about more than just allegations of sexual harassment, NewsChannel has learned. Several employees were also worried about how the executive principal, Dr. Sam Braden, was spending the school's money.

July 24, 2018: Harassment Claims Focus Of Closed-Door Meeting

Sexual harassment allegations involving a Nashville middle school principal had the Metro School Board meeting Tuesday night behind closed doors. It came just a day after NewsChannel 5 Investigates exposed allegations buried in the district's own files.

July 25, 2018: Principal Placed On Administrative Leave

An embattled Nashville principal has been removed from his job following sexual harassment allegations first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

July 25, 2018: Embattled Principal Faces Additional Complaint

Are there other sexual harassment allegations against an embattled Nashville middle school principal? The head of the teachers union says he knows of at least one. That comes as Metro Schools - in a sudden about-face - placed Dr. Sam Braden on administrative leave.

July 26, 2018: Scandal Becomes Issue In School Board Races

The sexual harassment scandal involving a middle school principal has now become a hot-button political issue. Candidates for the Metro School Board seat representing the Antioch area are getting an earful from voters following the NewsChannel 5 investigation.

July 30, 2018: MNPS To Consult Experts On HR Practices

Metro Schools says it will bring in a team of outside experts to look at how it investigates sexual harassment complaints. That's a direct result of a NewsChannel 5 investigation that exposed horrific allegations that had been ignored.

July 30, 2018: Schools Director Dodges Questions About His Role

How far will the Metro Schools director go to avoid answering questions about how his administration has investigated sexual harassment allegations? We first asked Dr. Joseph to sit down for an interview on these serious questions back on June 5th. When he didn't respond, we decided to go looking for answers.

WEB EXTRA: Unscheduled Interviews, A Last Resort

July 31, 2018: MNPS Boss Accused Of 'Election Interference'

Challengers Fran Bush and Aaron McGee are upset about Dr. Shawn Joseph's use of district social-media accounts to push an incumbent board member who has been one of his most loyal supporters.

Aug. 6, 2018: Nashville School Teacher: 'Time's Up!'

Another teacher says she also complained about sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct by a Nashville middle school principal, but district officials did nothing. Science teacher Sonji Collins said it's time for the school system to admit it failed to protect its own employees.

Aug. 8, 2018: MNPS Protected Sexual Harassers, Lawsuit Claims

Did Nashville school officials protect men who engaged in horrendous sexual harassment against district employees? That's the allegation contained in a new lawsuit. It accuses Metro Nashville Public Schools of running "sham investigations" in response to harassment complaints filed by employees.

Aug. 10, 2018: Second Principal Resigns Amid Harassment Scandal

A Nashville elementary school principal has resigned amid on-going questions about sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct in Metro Schools. But, like in other cases, NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered, it wasn't Dr. Lance High's first complaint.

Aug. 10, 2018: School Security Director Placed On Leave

The director of security for Metro Schools has been placed on administrative leave, following complaints of inappropriate conduct, NewsChannel 5 has learned.

Aug. 13, 2018: Will Metro Schools Conduct Real Investigations?

Metro Schools insists it's serious about cracking down on sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct in the workplace. But NewsChannel 5 Investigates has discovered that employees are being offered an option for reporting misconduct that may not actually result in a real investigation.

Aug. 17, 2018: Security Director To Retire Amid Investigation

The director of security for Metro Schools has announced that he plans to retire, just days after being placed on administrative leave while the district conducted an internal investigation.

Aug. 20, 2018: Should Nashville Teacher Have Lost His Job?

Video from an altercation between a student and teacher inside Nashville's Overton High School last year raises more questions about how Metro Schools polices its own.

Aug. 27, 2018: Secret Recording Raises Election Meddling Concerns

A secret recording is once again raising accusations of election meddling by Nashville's controversial schools director. It shows Dr. Shawn Joseph suggesting that bus drivers take a hard look at the record of one candidate for vice mayor.

Aug. 28, 2018: MNPS Hires Law Firm To Investigate HR Practices

The sexual harassment scandal inside Metro Schools now has the district hiring lawyers to take a look at its human resources practices - and it could cost you a lot more money.

Aug. 29, 2018: Misleading MNPS Statement Claims Audit Victory

Metro school officials are giving themselves an "A" when it comes to spending your money, claiming that a recent audit vindicates their spending practices. But, it turns out, the real grade may be an "incomplete."

Aug. 30, 2018: Schools Director Faces Possible Public Reprimand

Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph faces a possible public reprimand from the State Board of Education. It stems from the district's handling of a teacher's physical altercation with a student.

Aug. 31, 2018: MNPS Failed To Report More Educator Misconduct

Now, it turns out, there may have been a lot more Metro Schools employees whose troubles were never reported to the state.

Aug. 31, 2018: Metro Schools Faces $1.2 Million Harassment Suit

A former Metro Schools administrator has filed a $1.2 million lawsuit against Metro Nashville Public Schools, accusing the district of creating a "sexually hostile work environment, retaliation and [a] retaliatory hostile work environment."

Sept. 4, 2018: Could New Harassment Lawsuit Be Game Changer?

Four Metro Schools employees, four sexual harassment claims, in less than four weeks. However you add it up, it equals big problems for Metro Schools. The most recent $1.2 million lawsuit, filed just before Labor Day, comes as the Metro School Board prepares to kick off a new term with three new members.

Sept. 11, 2018: New School Board Chair Elected Amid Controversy

Sparks flew as a sharply divided Metro School Board elected the person who will chair its meetings for the next year. Veteran board member Sharon Gentry was elected on a narrow 5-4 vote despite a blistering critique from one of her colleagues.

Sept. 21, 2018: Number Of Troubled Nashville Schools Increases

The number of troubled Metro Nashville schools on the Tennessee Department of Education's "priority" list has nearly doubled from 11 to 21, new data shows.

Sept. 24, 2018: Metro Schools Admits Some Sexual Harassment

Lawyers for Metro Schools now admit some of the horrific sexual harassment allegations against a former middle school principal are true. Those stunning admissions come in response to a lawsuit involving Dr. Sam Braden, former executive principal for John F. Kennedy Middle School in Antioch.

Sept. 25, 2018: Metro School Board Discusses Harassment Scandal

We need to to know the truth! That was the word from some Metro School Board members Tuesday night as they met for the first time to discuss the months-long sexual harassment scandal first uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Sept. 26, 2018: Schools Director Faces Intense Questioning

The embattled director of Metro Schools now finds himself facing some of the most intense questioning he's ever faced from his bosses. Some School Board members are wanting to know more about how Dr. Shawn Joseph has run the district for the last two years.

Sept. 28, 2018: MNPS Tells Teacher: You Were Sexually Harassed

Metro Schools has now admitted to a middle school teacher that she was the victim of sexual harassment. In a letter, the district informed Sonji Collins that it had wrapped up its investigation into her claims of sexual harassment, bullying and retaliation by Dr. Sam Braden.

Oct. 4, 2018: New Evidence Raises Questions About Blame Game

Is Nashville's director of schools trying to find a scapegoat to blame for his district's own shortcomings? Now, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has uncovered serious new questions about the story that Dr. Shawn Joseph has told about why Metro Schools failed to report teacher misconduct.

Oct. 17, 2018: City hires private law firm for sexual harassment lawsuit

Just weeks after the filing of a million-dollar sexual harassment lawsuit against Metro Schools, that suit is already costing taxpayers. The city has hired a big-name Nashville law firm to defend the school district against the lawsuit filed by former administrator Vanessa Garcia.

Nov. 13, 2018: Nashville school board wants closer eye on spending

For months, Metro schools have been engulfed in controversy over how the district has spent your money. Now, the Metro School Board appears ready to enact reforms to reassure taxpayers that they're watching, including appointing internal auditors and increasing board scrutiny of contracts.

Dec. 17, 2018: New lawsuit filed in MNPS sexual harassment scandal

A former human resources investigator for Metro Schools has become the latest person to sue the district as part of the sexual harassment scandal first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates. Scott Lindsey claims he was forced out after he tried to make sure that the victims' complaints was properly investigated.

Jan. 31, 2019: School bus driver chauffeurs MNPS boss while kids wait

This past fall brought new controversy over Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph's use of a driver. Now, as the district struggles to deal with a shortage of school bus drivers, hundreds of pages of internal documents obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates are raising new questions about whether Joseph put his needs above the needs of the city's children.

Former director of schools: 'I always drove myself'

Feb. 3, 2019: Metro Schools broke law, misled school board about contracts

Metro Nashville Public Schools steered $1.8 million in no-bid contracts to a company with whom Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph had done business in the past, violating state purchasing laws, a NewsChannel 5 investigation has discovered.

Feb. 5, 2019: MNPS spent millions of dollars without looking for best price

Metro Nashville Public Schools awarded millions of dollars in no-bid contracts without ever checking to see if they could get better prices, an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered. In a written statement, MNPS officials insisted checking for lower prices was unnecessary.

What did MNPS get for $1 million? Potentially, not much

Feb. 6, 2019: Sexual harassment scandal may cost MNPS $350,000 in first settlements

A sexual harassment scandal inside Metro Schools could soon end up costing you a lot of money. Under the terms of a proposed deal, the district would be required to pay out $350,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuits brought by three current or former employees at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Antioch, according to their attorney.

Feb. 7, 2019: Audit offers conflicting views on MNPS contracts

A long-awaited audit of Metro Nashville Public Schools finds many of the wilder allegations of purchasing irregularities under Director of Schools Dr. Shawn Joseph's administration are "unsubstantiated." But, buried in the report from Metro's Office of Internal Audit are multiple criticisms of Metro Schools for not following federal, state and local purchasing laws.

Schools director began contract talks before starting job

Feb. 11, 2019: MNPS official failed to disclose consulting fees from vendor group

A top Metro Schools official pocketed thousands of dollars in consulting fees from a group with ties to companies doing business with the district. But our NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered that Dr. Monique Felder failed to disclose money that she received in 2017 until auditors started asking questions.

Feb. 12, 2019: Analysis: MNPS audit leaves unanswered questions

Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph is claiming a recent Metro audit vindicates how his administration has handled millions of dollars in contracts. But a detailed analysis of the audit report by NewsChannel 5 Investigates reveals that it leaves many unanswered questions.

Feb. 12, 2019: Contract questions continue to haunt Metro School Board

It was the night the Metro Schools director, Dr. Shawn Joseph, had hoped to end questions about how millions of dollars of your money was spent. Instead, a beleaguered Metro School Board prepared itself Tuesday night for more questions and more investigations -- amid a contract scandal uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Feb. 13, 2019: MNPS faces morale crisis, confidential report warns

Metro Nashville Public Schools, under Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph, faces seriously low morale and other issues that threaten the district’s ability to keep qualified employees, a confidential report obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates warns. The 11-page report also warns that a key Human Resources official hired by Joseph is viewed as "extremely divisive, dismissive and, in their belief, incompetent."

Feb. 18, 2019: Administrator accuses MNPS of pay discrimination, retaliation

If you're a woman working for Metro Nashville Public Schools - and not a friend of the schools director - the district may not pay you as much as it pays men. That's what a veteran administrator says she discovered and, now, she says she's facing retaliation for speaking up.

List of highest-paid MNPS employees, $75,000+
List of highest-paid MNPS employees, hourly rate

Feb. 21, 2019: Lawyer to MNPS: 'Wouldn't any reasonable employer listen?'

You have been warned! That's the message to Metro Schools. It comes from the lawyer for a high-ranking administrator who's accusing the district of pay discrimination.

Feb. 25, 2019: Teacher Town Hall: Educators say MNPS morale at all-time low

With Metro Schools facing what the district’s own experts say is a morale crisis, some Nashville teachers want you to hear why they’re so frustrated. They say they know they run the risk of retaliation, but they feel you have a right to know what's really happening.

Feb. 25, 2019: Teacher Town Hall: MNPS discipline policies spark 'chaos'

Ask any Nashville teacher what's behind the district's low morale, and they're likely to mention student discipline. When NewsChannel 5 Investigates gathered a group of teachers over the weekend for a Teacher Town Hall, they didn't hold back. We asked them to describe what they experience every day. "Chaos."

Feb. 26, 2019: Controversy leads to sharp exchanges at Metro School Board

Another Metro School Board meeting, another night of sharp words! Tuesday night, Metro Nashville Public Schools officials brought forward a plan to fix the district's human resources problems. But one critic of Schools Director Doctor Shawn Joseph called the plan "foolish," and that's when sparks flew.

Feb. 27, 2019: School board chair: 'No intentional abhorrent behavior'

He's faced allegations of ignoring sexual harassment, wasting millions of dollars of taxpayer money, using his position to try to influence how school employees vote. But Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph still has the chair of the Metro School Board on his side.

March 2, 2019: NC5 Investigates: Teacher Town Hall

What's really happening inside Metro Schools? After months of controversy - a sexual harassment scandal, questionable spending and infighting on the school board - NewsChannel 5 Investigates decided to ask the teachers.

March 4, 2019: Metro schools director gets low marks on board evaluations

Embattled Metro Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph received low marks across multiple categories -- including student achievement, school climate and employee morale -- during a recent mid-year evaluation.

March 4, 2019: New evidence suggests $1 million wasted, Metro School Board misled

There's new evidence that Metro Schools may have wasted a million dollars of your money. And, now, NewsChannel 5 Investigates has uncovered more proof that the schools director, Dr. Shawn Joseph, misled the school board about that contract.

March 8, 2019: Metro Schools announces shakeup in troubled HR department

Metro Nashville Public Schools announced a shakeup Friday in its troubled Human Resources Department. Veteran MNPS administrator Tony Majors will take over the HR division, replacing HR Chief Deborah Story. Majors will serve as the interim until a permanent chief is named this summer.

March 11, 2019: Don't air Metro Schools' dirty laundry in public, director warns

You don't need to be airing Metro Schools' dirty laundry in public. That was the message from Schools Director Dr. Shawn Joseph as he met with support employees over the weekend.

March 12, 2019: Revised audit finds multiple violations by Metro Schools

Metro Schools boasted that a recent audit had cleared the district of all wrongdoing in how it handled contracts. Now, that audit has been revised. It comes after questions raised by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

March 18, 2019: Joseph supporter seeks to delay director's evaluation, contract talks

A key supporter of Dr. Shawn Joseph is seeking to delay completion of the Metro School Board’s mid-year evaluation of the schools director, as well as a vote on his future, amid signs of declining support.

March 18, 2019: Maryland company given inside track on lucrative MNPS contract

Metro Nashville Public Schools gave a Maryland company the inside track on a lucrative deal to boost science and technology curriculum in middle schools, a NewsChannel 5 investigation discovered.

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