In addition to being a Democratic bastion, California is notorious for its leniency on crime. North Carolina, on the other hand, has a reputation for leaning conservative. The Republican-dominated state Legislature has recently introduced a tough-on-crime package that would increase penalties for rioting and sexually abusing children in schools.
Yet, North Carolina does less to protect children from sex predators in the classroom than California does.
- California school districts, charter schools, and private schools are required to conduct fingerprint-based background checks on all employees.
- North Carolina school districts, charter schools, and private schools are not required to conduct a background check of any kind.
- Teachers in California who are indicted for child sex crimes face automatic suspension of their licenses while they await trial.
- The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Superintendent says she will not revoke a teacher’s license until they have received a guilty verdict in court.
- In 2021 and 2022, NCDPI rarely suspended a teaching license while a criminal case was pending.
- The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) may review records from school districts, the Department of Justice, law enforcement agencies, any court, or any state agency, to determine whether or not a teacher should be reprimanded by the state.
- NCDPI officials say the agency has no legal process for investigating teacher sex abuse – even after a teacher has been arrested. According to the DPI’s lawyer, the agency doesn’t have access to police reports, and taking action against a teacher’s license during a criminal investigation could be considered an obstruction of justice.
(Below) Email written by NCDPI’s lawyer, Alison Schafer. (click image to enlarge)
(Below) Email sent by Superintendent Catherine Truitt. (click image to enlarge)
Education First Alliance conducted a small study on California’s treatment of certified teachers who made headlines for being charged with sex crimes against children in 2022. After searching on Google for “Teachers arrested in California,” we selected the first ten news stories featuring certified teachers and compared those names with CTC’s license database.
Here’s what we found:
- The average time from teacher arrest to license suspension was around a month.
- In two of the ten cases, teachers’ licenses were suspended on the same day they were charged, and three were suspended within a week.
- One teacher charged with sending inappropriate text messages to a minor with the intent of committing a sex crime was arrested in June 2022, yet still shows as having a valid teaching license on CTC’s website.
According to a workflow document published on its website, the office of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) receives complaints about problem teachers, then obtains relevant court and police documents for review. Then the Commission (COC) reviews each case and decides whether or not to sanction a teacher.
(Below) California Teachers’ license workflow (click image to enlarge)
In North Carolina, the NCDPI oversees licensure suspensions and revocations and must report any adverse actions taken to the State Board of Education chair on a monthly basis.
There are offenses that can result in licensure suspension or revocation, including:
- Failure to fulfill the duties and responsibilities
- Failure to comply with such reasonable requirements as the board may prescribe
- illegal, unethical, or inappropriate conduct by a person, if there is a reasonable and adverse relationship between the underlying conduct and the continuing ability of the person to perform any of his/her professional functions in an effective manner
This means that NCDPI officials may suspend a teacher awaiting trial.
EFA reported last month that North Carolina teachers who were arrested for sexual abuse in 2021 and 2022 and are awaiting trial still have valid licenses, even if they voluntarily surrendered them.
Two weeks ago, EFA revealed that one former teacher convicted of four counts of child exploitation, soliciting sex from a child, and felony possession of meth had an active license. As of publication, Jeremy Flock still has a license in good standing.
The state led by far-left Progressives and the teachers’ union seems to have a better grasp on how due process should apply to problem educators than Republican-led North Carolina. In the blue state, more laws are in place to keep predators out of the classroom, and sexual predators are removed sooner from the list of certified teachers.
How long will it take North Carolina to catch up to California when it comes to problem teachers? For the sake of North Carolina’s school children, it had better be soon.
(The following addition is not included in the original post.)
The Disgraceful Recent History of Disciplining Teachers in North Carolina
Sloan Rachmuth, founder of Education First Alliance, describes how NC teacher discipline has deteriorated in recent years.