Teacher fired for contact with student

Officials: 28-year Columbus middle school art educator violated social media policy

Technology had a role in the dismissal of a 28-year Columbus art teacher during the school year.

Brian Irwin, who taught at Northside Middle School, was fired for failing to follow a directive that he refrain from having social media contact with a student.

Irwin’s teaching contract was terminated by the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. school board on a recommendation from Superintendent Jim Roberts.

The action, taken during the Feb. 27 BCSC school board meeting, followed an executive session when allegations of misconduct against Irwin were reviewed.

Irwin would have made $76,175 this school year, the school district reported.

BCSC school board attorney Chris Monroe provided the factual basis for Irwin’s firing, that he violated Board Policy 3213 — Student Supervision and Welfare, paragraph G.

The policy states: “A professional staff member shall not associate with students at any time in a manner which gives the appearance of impropriety, including, but not limited to, the creation or participation in any situation or activity which could be considered abusive or sexually suggestive or involve illegal substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or drugs. This provision should not be construed as precluding a professional staff member from associating with students in private for legitimate or proper reasons.”

Irwin did not respond to a written request for comment on his firing.

Irwin joined the Columbus-based school district in August 1988 to teach art at Northside.

While employed by BCSC, he also served from 2012 to 2014 as assistant swim coach at Columbus East High School.

Irwin, who lives in Nashville, was a 1981 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He earned his master’s degree in education from Indiana Wesleyan in 1997.

Irwin’s LinkedIn biography said he invented Drip Armor Containment System garage organizers, listing him as principal of Southern Hills LLC since January 2015.