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South Johnston teacher receives 10-day suspension

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SMITHFIELD — A South Johnston High School teacher has been suspended without pay for 10 days for surveying student beliefs without Interim Superintendent Jim Causby’s authorization.

Spanish teacher Julia Lopp has been on suspension with pay since October when Johnston County Public Schools became aware of an incident in one of Lopp’s classes in which Lopp surveyed student beliefs about religion, politics and other matters. Lopp was suspended with pay while the incident was under investigation.

Chief of Staff and Communication Dolores Gill said Nov. 20 that Lopp apologized for conducting the activity and expressed regret for the disruption it caused South Johnston.

“While students were asked to briefly stand on different sides of the room to indicate their responses to various statements, the investigation did not find that Ms. Lopp criticized students for their responses or otherwise segregated them,” said Gill. “Nor did it find that Ms. Lopp attempted to conceal the activity from the school or from parents as was reported.”

Lopp accepted Causby’s recommendation she be suspended without pay for 10 school days.

“Regardless of the intent, students should never have been asked about personal beliefs,” Causby said. “Given Ms. Lopp’s willingness to take responsibility for her misjudgment, I believe that she will use this experience to better her instruction for our students at South Johnston High School.”