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Teacher arrested for assigning class to write ways to kill a student

A teacher surrendered his license after getting in legal trouble for an assignment he agreed was inappropriate.
Teacher arrested for assigning class to write ways to kill a student
Posted at 2:18 PM, Feb 15, 2024

A teacher has been arrested after giving a Virginia middle school class an assignment to write about killing a student, according to court records.

The incident occurred in January 2022 in an English class at Crestwood Middle School in Chesapeake, but Scripps News Norfolk's investigative team recently learned about the arrest after a Freedom of Information Request to the Department of Education regarding teachers who lost their license in the state.

The class assignment was to write "ways to kill" one particular student in the class, according to court records. The records state that the idea for the assignment came from another student in the class, but that the teacher went along with it.

The students reportedly pulled out their tablets and began to write various ways to kill the selected child in the class. Documents outline how the ideas from the students included chopping him up, throwing him out the window, burning him alive and feeding him to a dog.

That night the child told his parents, and authorities got involved.

When asked by authorities why this happened, records state that the teacher said it was hard to engage the class, and the student at the center of the assignment didn't appear upset. But the teacher agreed it was an inappropriate assignment and told police it was an error in judgment.

The teacher pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

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According to a statement from the Chesapeake School District after Scripps News Norfolk reached out for comment, the teacher "was employed as a teacher at Crestwood Middle School from August 31, 2020, through April 8, 2022. Our practice is that we do not comment further on such situations involving personnel. The safety of our students is our top priority, and Chesapeake Public Schools expects all employees to act with the utmost professionalism to provide a positive learning environment for all students."

The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) is a clearinghouse that helps identify red flags when teachers are applying for licenses across the country. It reports that approximately 6,000 of the 3.5 million public school teachers have adverse action taken against their licenses for a wide variety of issues, and in many cases those teachers do not lose their licenses.

The teacher involved in this case did surrender his license.

NASDTEC, which offers free online preventative and corrective courses for teachers and leaders nationwide, thinks there should be more emphasis on preventing problematic behavior before it happens.

The group's executive director, Jimmy Adams, said he believes every teacher should have to undergo a refresher class about professional ethics every five years. But the group stresses that the vast majority of teachers are phenomenal people, who never get into trouble and are working to educate and inspire the children of America.

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