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Betrayal

Betrayal

Educators who betray the trust placed in them by victimizing children sexually should never be employed again in schools — anywhere.

One might think that would go without saying, but it does not. Too often, school employees convicted of sex-related crimes involving children find jobs in other states.

Last week, a former Brooke County teacher, Tim Turner, pleaded guilty to malicious assault in circuit court. That interrupted his trial on a third-degree sexual assault charge involving a juvenile student. Turner, 43, of New Cumberland, had been band director at Wellsburg Middle School.

Brooke County Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney David Cross said accepting the malicious assault plea was appropriate. He said the decision to accept the plea was made after consultation with the victim and the law enforcement officer involved in the case.

In addition to serving two years in jail, Turner will give up his teaching license, Cross noted.

Good. But teaching licenses are granted by individual states. Getting in trouble in West Virginia is no guarantee an ex-teacher cannot get a school job elsewhere.

Just such a situation was revealed late last year. It involved a man who left a teaching post in Morgantown, after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student. He promptly moved to Arizona — and was hired as a teacher there.

In that case, West Virginia authorities dragged out the process of disciplining the teacher. It was not until last year that his record in our state was discovered in Arizona, where he was fired.

No state should allow its bad actors in schools to move away and get new education posts where they may victimize other children. In this case, Turner’s record should be made known to state education departments throughout the United States. We West Virginians owe that to children and parents in the other 49 states.

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