An examination of the North Carolina teacher revocation listing reveals many teachers engaging in illegal or immoral conduct have not had their licenses revoked.
Most of these teachers missing from the teacher revocation list have been reported by local media to have been arrested for engaging in various levels of sexual activity with students.
Of the teacher related arrests reported by the media during 2016 in North Carolina, only 8 of 29 cases appear in the teacher revocation listing.
While these teachers reported by the media have been arrested and charged, convictions are still pending. According to the procedures for teacher license revocation, “illegal, unethical or lascivious conduct by a person” is one of the listed criteria for revocation.
It is unclear whether these individuals have been reported by the responsible county administrators to the Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) or the State Board of Education. One of the criteria for revocation proceedings is, “failure of school administrator to report revocable conduct.”
Read more about the disciplinary process and related statutes at the State Board of Education website.
In 2016, there were 22 North Carolina teachers with charges of sexual activity involving students.
North Carolina was given an “F” by USA Today in a report on teacher screening in 2015 and given what has been uncovered, the screening process isn’t the only problem. It would appear that many teachers are simply resigning their position when caught engaging in inappropriate activities and are gaining employment in another school or district, often times picking up where they left off.
Here are a few examples.
December 21, 2016 – ABC11 News
Teacher Troy Logan Pickens was arrested by U.S. Marshals near Rockingham stemming from sexual offense charges with a 14-year old student in February of 2015. Pickens had been employed at Neal Middle School in Durham at that time. When he was arrested, it was reported that Pickens had been re-employed in Wake County Schools since July 2015.
November 15, 2016 – WRAL, Part I, Part II
WRAL exposed a teacher named Latoya Snead, age 35, who had engaged in inappropriate texting with an 8th grade student. Snead had worked in Johnston County Schools at McGee’s Crossroads Middle School at the time of the inappropriate texting. Snead was employed in Sampson county at Union Middle School when WRAL caught up with her.
To add to matters, the WRAL report interviews former North Carolina Superintendent June Atkinson about the Snead case. This is good reporting, however WRAL leaves out a key piece of information in that interview.
According to an article on the USA Today report at Citizens Times, under Atkinson’s tenure proposed revisions to the screening process were tabled — for the last six years.
The USA Today report cites ‘failing to pass recommendations on to lawmakers’.
October 23, 2016 – WNCN
Timothy Bennett was arrested for having a sexual relationship with a student at South Lenoir High School in Lenoir county during the 2015-16 school year. When Bennett was arrested, he was employed by Wake County Schools as a Fine Arts teacher at Sanderson High. Bennett apparently was still in contact with the student.
According to WNCN, “Lenoir County Sheriff Ronnie Ingram says there is no evidence that Lenoir County Public Schools or South Lenoir High School had knowledge of the incident.” The big question is, why not?
Only one of the teachers in the examples given here are currently on the teacher revocation list (Timothy Bennett), however that may hopefully change.
For reference, below is the list of teacher arrests in North Carolina in 2016.
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This list was compiled over a 4 month period by searching various media outlets, utilizing Google searches and other search tools. This list may have missed some reported and therefore might not be complete.
American Lens will continue reporting on this topic in the future.