I-Team: Lack of federal database allows problem teachers to move among districts

I-Team

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — If a teacher is fired in one school district — even for egregious behavior — they can still move to another district and end up in your child’s classroom.

There is no federal database to track teachers. Several cases in the Clark County School District illustrate the problem.

CCSD Police recommended charges against teacher Kasey Glass. She was accused of abusing students with special needs. The Clark County District Attorney did not move forward with the case. Now, Glass is teaching in Nye County.

Melvyn Sprowson was accused of unlawful sex acts while he was a teacher in Los Angeles in 2008. He was arrested but never charged. The Los Angeles Unified School District reached a settlement with an alleged child victim’s family. Sprowson was later hired by the Clark County School District and was arrested for kidnapping a minor in 2013. He is now in prison.

James Doran was convicted of battery for abusing children at CCSD in 2015. He was later hired by the Rochester City School District in New York but resigned six months later.

“I’m really sad and I’m upset to those who they don’t care about our children,” said Olivia Espinoza, a parent. Her son is one of Doran’s alleged victims. Espinoza’s family, and two other families were awarded a settlement with CCSD because of how the district failed to notify parents of allegations against Doran before his arrest.

While there is no federal database of teachers, the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification offers a database for a fee.

“The purpose of it is to help facilitate cooperation across state lines for the official agencies in each state that have the responsibility for teacher certification,” said Phillip Rogers, NASDTEC executive director.

He says all states are using NASDTEC to check backgrounds for teacher licensing, including the Nevada Department of Education, but only 300 school districts are members. The Clark and Nye County districts are not.

Rogers says more than 90,000 adverse actions have been reported in NASDTEC which means a license is suspended or revoked. However, what you won’t find is if a teacher was fired, resigned or arrested but never charged.

“The teacher, the person, the offender has due process rights,” Rogers said.

CCSD police recommended criminal charges against Kasey Glass, but the Clark County district attorney did not pursue the case.

Sprowson was arrested but never charged in California before moving to Nevada and becoming a teacher.

Rogers says more than 95% of teachers arrested, keep their licenses.

“The burden of proof to take action against a professional certificate is lower than the burden of proof that is necessary to incarcerate or find someone guilty in a court of law,” Rogers said.

The New York State Department of Education said a background check for James Doran was completed, but he still was cleared for employment.

8 News Now asked Congresswoman Susie Lee about cases like these. She’s on the House Committee on Education and Labor.

 “I think there is definitely a role for the federal government to take in making sure that we keep our children as safe as possible and we’re able to track those teachers that have been fired for offenses that would put children in jeopardy,” Congresswoman Susie Lee said.

Many school districts like CCSD rely on an FBI background check for hiring.

The I-Team has learned the arresting agency is responsible for submitting information to the Nevada Department of Public Safety which then sends the information to the FBI. So, each agency has to do their part in order for the FBI background check to work.

Look at the video below to learn how you can check a teacher’s license:

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