The school administrators didn’t know their teacher candidate was being charged with pushing drugs; the teacher claims she didn’t know either!
Something’s fishy here. It’s not like the District Attorney’s office woke up one day and said, “Let’s charge Elizabeth Ferguson with distributing heroin! Wanna?”
. . . at the same time the school leaders woke up and said, “That Ferguson woman would make a great teacher. Let’s hire her. Wanna?”
While everyone should be “innocent until proven guilty,” it makes sense to postpone a hiring decision until you know if your star candidate is going to be sent to jail, unavailable for work. For teaching positions, it also makes sense to know whether or not applicants are involved in illegal activities that could harm youth. Duh. Her reach, after all, could extend to older kids and teens to whom she might have access. And, worse yet, to whom she might solicit heroin.
I was appalled by the claims of ignorance on the part of both the school personnel and the teacher.
Parents, of course, are fuming. The story appeared on CBS News:
Parents at S.P. Morton Elementary school say school leaders should have done their homework, after hiring a woman following her arrest for distributing heroin.
36-year old Elizabeth Ferguson was indicted on two felony charges of Distribution of Heroin on September 22nd, according to court documents.
Then just one week later, on September 29th, Ferguson was hired as a first grade teacher with Franklin City Schools.
“I`m mad,” said grandmother Ernestine Manley. “Nobody ever told me as a grandparent that this actually happened.”
Franklin City Schools spokesperson Kelvin Edwards says parents didn’t know because school officials themselves had no idea.
“Did we know about her charges? The answer is no, we did not,” he said.
That’s because Edwards says in Ferguson’s case, she was hired with a background check pending. Meaning she was teaching before her results came in.
“It should have never happened. You are careful with the system, why did the system fail that time?” Manley added.
NewsChannel 3 stopped by Ferguson’s house Monday and her mother answered the door. She told NewsChannel she believes her daughter was innocent and says Ferguson didn’t know there were even charges against her when she applied as a teacher. Ferguson was suspended with pay until Monday morning, which is when she officially resigned.
Edwards says her resignation was immediately accepted.
Parents tell NewsChannel 3 she should have never been hired in the first place.
“It’s very scary,” said upset mom Lamanesia Boone.
Edwards says he wouldn’t be surprise if changes in school policy begin at the next school board meeting.
“It’s something we definitely need to look at,” Edwards said. “We can always look at revising policy because there is always an opportunity for improvement.”
Ferguson is expected to be back in Suffolk Circuit Court in January.
Um, excuse me, Mr. Edwards, sir. But your school policy should already have been revised to screen teacher candidates for felony indictments . . . back in 1970-something.
Sure, accidents happen. Here’s a related news story about a 4-year-old handing out packets of heroin at pre-school. The mom explains what happened. Oops.
Reported by Popsugar this past October.
When looking through a 4-year-old child’s backpack, you’d probably expect to find art supplies, snacks, and perhaps a favorite toy — not 250 baggies of heroin. Unfortunately, at one day care center in Delaware, one child accidentally toted a backpack full of heroin packets to class. The child’s mother, who has now been charged with multiple counts of child endangerment, accidentally sent her young daughter to school with the large quantity of drugs after the toddler’s usual book bag was damaged by a household pet. Day care workers called the police when the confused child began handing out the baggies of heroin (labeled “slam”) to classmates, mistaking it for candy.
Thankfully, no children were harmed in the frightening incident. Now that the child and her two siblings have been removed from their mother’s custody following drug and endangerment charges, it’s hopeful that they won’t be exposed to such dangers in the future.
Maybe potential parents should be pre-screened, too, and not allowed to bear children pending the results. That’s ludicrous, of course. But we can’t trust teachers or parents to hold themselves accountable anymore. [See below]
Note: Featured Image source: Shutterstock
Children of addicts in related news:
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