On the day before Thanksgiving, Eye got a gift for which we are thankful.
The public school system answered a question we asked last May. In August, they told us we could have the info for $107.60, which we paid.
As it turns out, they gave us more than we asked for, so it was almost a Black Friday deal.
Our question was, have any local schoolteachers been accused of improper conduct with students?
The answer: yes.
Since two such accusations have been made since we asked, we were fairly confident the answer would be yes.
We expected only statistics but we got the actual reports, with details (some redacted for privacy).
The reason for our inquiry is that this has become a serious problem nationwide in the past 10 years, but we had seen little notice of it here.
A book titled The Corrupt Classroom claims that “sex crimes by teachers have reached shocking levels.” In 2014 there were 781 sex crimes reported, according to author Lance Izumi.
In Florida, a 14-year-old student wrote down his cell phone number on a chalkboard – and got a call from his 32-year-old teacher, who initiated a sexual relationship. A 31-year-old Florida teacher was accused of soliciting sex from at least four students.
There have been at least 50 cases in Florida public schools this year alone, but the liberal media shrugs them off while focusing on a few incidents in private schools.
Earlier this year, USA Today wrote: “schoolchildren across the nation continue to be beaten, raped and harassed by their teachers while government officials at every level stand by and do nothing. The investigation uncovered more than 100 teachers who lost their licenses but are still working with children or young adults today.”
Cases have been uncovered in Florida of a teacher leaving one district under a cloud and being hired in another district, apparently having escaped scrutiny.
Local School Superintendent Diane Greene told Eye on Jacksonville her career has been dedicated to the well-being of children. “…. I will not be tolerant of adults who do them harm,” she said.
That’s refreshing when, in some school districts, more emphasis is on protecting the teachers.
In Jacksonville, it appears that incidents are investigated thoroughly and teachers are cleared when accusations are unfounded. Of the 16 cases we were given, nine were substantiated.
A fifth-grade teacher in an elementary school was accused by students of touching them improperly. Investigators interviewed students and the teacher (who had no previous record) and concluded there was not evidence of improper conduct. There were several other such cases.
In April 2017, school officials were told by one student that a teacher was involved in “sexual conduct’ with a sixth grade student. The report said the matter was turned over to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. No further information was provided.
A high school teacher was accused of improper language, flirting and groping girls in 2016. Investigators interviewed numerous students and found the charges were substantiated. The teacher resigned.
One high school teacher was found to have had students in her home using marijuana and alcohol, and sleeping over. She was not rehired the following year.
In 2016 a homosexual high school band teacher was found to have made improper remarks and advances toward students, and he resigned.
This year a teacher at Fletcher High School was found to have had sex with two students under the age of 18, at times in a classroom, after his wife found out and notified school officials. He resigned and was arrested.
Another high school teacher resigned after reports from students and another teacher that he was having sex with a student in a classroom, even though the students said they didn’t actually “do it” because they were afraid of being seen.
In another incident this year, a teacher was tutoring an underage student and allowed him to live in her home with him. They had moonlight walks on the beach and professed love for each other, but both said they did not have sex, although she told him that as soon as he was 18 she would show him how a teacher “took care” of a student. The report said the teacher violated professional conduct but did not indicate whether the teacher was punished.
In another case this year, a teacher who already had been reprimanded for remarks to young girls was accused of using his cell phone to take a picture of a girl in a short dress sitting with her legs crossed. He was not re-hired.
Another teacher who sent text messages and photos to young girls resigned in April after they reported his actions to school officials.
The dean of a middle school resigned after investigators concluded he had received intimate photos of students on his phone and talked of having sex with one “after she graduated.”
Clearly, the investigative reports from just two years indicate there are problems with interactions between some teachers and students. What is remarkable is the extent that some teachers use their phones for such conduct, an indication of how technology can facilitate bad behavior as well as benefit users. Fortunately, it can also provide evidence for investigators.