Recent Developments

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Recent Developments in Missouri Regarding Sexual Misconduct
A Missouri court ruled that a public school board acted properly in dismissing a teacher for immoral conduct rendering him unfit to teach.
Missouri
State:

A Missouri court ruled that a public school board acted properly in dismissing a teacher for immoral conduct rendering him unfit to teach. A father called the police when his 14-year-old daughter did not return home one evening. The police suspected that the girl was in the home of one of her teachers. They went to the home, saw no lights or movement in the home, and rang the doorbell. A few moments later the teacher appeared, wearing only his underpants. When asked if the girl were in his home, the teacher replied that she was not. The police officers asked if they could come in an look around, but the teacher refused. After the officers left, they remained in a location where they could observe the home. A short time later they saw a girl run out of the home. One of the officers apprehended her, and returned her to her family. The school board later voted to dismiss the teacher for immoral conduct. He appealed his dismissal, and a state appeals court ruled that the school board acted properly in dismissing him. The court noted that state law permits public school teachers to be dismissed for a number of grounds, including "immoral conduct." The court concluded:

Immoral conduct has been held to be conduct that renders a teacher unfit for the performance of his duties; conduct rendering a teacher unfit to teach. The school board could have concluded that [the teacher's] actions in hiding the presence of a 14-year-old girl in a darkened residence in the … early morning hours, and in denying her presence when confronted by the police, did not demonstrate the morals required of a person employed to teach and coach children of the same approximate age. The board had reason to question the teacher's motives in view of his dress when confronted by police ….

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