Report: 269 K-12 educators arrested on child sex crimes in first 9 months of this year
What about arrests in North Carolina?
A recent report by FOX News says that 269 K-12 educators across the country were arrested for child sex crimes in the first 9 months of this year.
Nearly 270 public educators were arrested on child sex-related crimes in the U.S. in the first nine months of this year, ranging from grooming to raping underage students.
An analysis conducted by Fox News Digital found that from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, at least 269 educators were arrested, which works out to roughly one arrest a day.
The 269 educators included four principals, two assistant principals, 226 teachers, 20 teacher's aides and 17 substitute teachers.
At least 199 of the arrests, or 74%, involved alleged crimes against students.
What about the first nine months in North Carolina?
From the reporting I have conducted on this topic, which I have dubbed the “Quiet Epidemic,” 28 such arrests have been documented this year beginning in January and running through September.
Around 20 of these cases involved charges that were sexual in nature, including indecent liberties with a child, sexual exploitation, rape, and various felonies tied to sexual activity with students.
Some of these individuals were fired outright, some were suspended with pay, and some resigned. Those who resigned did not give the state required 30 days’ notice. I’ll get into why that is problematic in a bit.
A look at the North Carolina cases for 2022 through September can be accessed through the download below or viewed and downloaded via DocumentCloud.
None of the 28 cases have had their licenses revoked yet per the Revoked License database maintained by the N.C. State Board of Education. It often takes years for a license to be revoked as the policy is to allow a court case to proceed and a conviction obtained before a license is revoked by the state. In some cases, the teacher voluntarily surrenders the license.
For October, there has been one such arrest so far - Iredell Statesville Public Schools English teacher April Dawn Viney, who was arrested on Oct. 4 and charged with two counts of felony dissemination of obscenity.
Licensing records on file with the state show Viney has an active teaching license that was issued in July of 2022 in the areas of English 9-12 and Language Arts 6-9. Unless revoked or surrendered, that license will not expire until June of 2027.
But these cases are just the ones that have received media attention or for which I have received tips from parents or the public. There are likely many more.
The FOX News report also notes their report may be missing cases, stating that “Arrests that weren't publicized were not counted in the analysis, meaning the true number may well be higher.”
This undercounting of cases has been a long-running contention of mine when looking at arrests for similar crimes in North Carolina. A main driver of that undercounting could be the fact that law enforcement is not required to report or track arrests of educators or education staffers to any state agency, including the N.C. State Board of Education.
Another driver identified is that school districts have allowed employees to resign rather than be fired, which would have triggered reporting to the N.C. State Board of Education. This is where we return to issues with resignations.
In the past, districts often allowed problem teachers to resign. The teacher then was either reassigned to another school in the district without disclosing the issues to parents or their new school, or the teacher left for a new district, again, without the new district being informed of any issues. This practice was and still is known as '“passing the trash.”
In 2017, changes were made to education statutes to address “passing the trash” situations. However, it’s been my experience while investigating these cases that not all districts are following the changes to resignation reporting.
The statute changed in 2017 resides under § 115C-325. System of employment for public school teachers. Under section 10(o)(2) of that part of the education statutes, it states an employee must give 30 days’ notice but also says that if there is criminal history associated with failure to comply, it has to be reported to the state board of education.
Here is the relevant section; emphasis added:
A career employee who is not recommended for dismissal should not resign without the consent of the superintendent unless he or she has given at least 30 days' notice. If a career employee who is not recommended for dismissal does resign without giving at least 30 days' notice, the board may request that the State Board of Education revoke the career employee's license for the remainder of that school year. A copy of the request shall be placed in the career employee's personnel file. If a career employee's criminal history is relevant to the employee's resignation, regardless of whether the employee has given at least 30 days' notice, the board shall report to the State Board of Education the reason for an employee's resignation.
Sources have also informed me that the logging of teacher discipline issues required by the school/district in PowerSchool is not happening.
I am currently in the process of going back through the cases I have reported on to determine if there was a conviction or dismissal but also to see how many of the arrests resulted in registration as a sex offender. Once I have the data cleaned up, I will present those findings.