LAS VEGAS (AP) — A rash of recent teacher arrests has school officials in Las Vegas looking at whether tightening social media policies would cut the number of employee-student sex cases.
School officials on Monday increased from nine to 10 the number of employees arrested since July on suspicion of inappropriate behavior or sexual misconduct with a student, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. The district previously reported the number of arrests this school year at nine.
Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky told reporters that administrators were trying to find a way for teachers and students to use social media for what a district statement called “critical information pertinent to academic achievement” like homework and projects.
They want to prevent contacts from becoming personal.
The Las Vegas Sun reported that a review of five cases involving school employees since 2015 found that in four, there was private communication with students without the knowledge of their parents.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson promised that school employees who engage in what he called inappropriate behavior will face prosecution.
“I think what’s important is it doesn’t matter whether you are a bus driver, a teacher, a school principal, a coach, or any employee,” Wolfson said.
Parents plan to take their concerns to a Thursday school board meeting.
Parents in Henderson called last week for action following the arrest of a teacher at a middle school on charges of unlawful contact with a minor and the release of information about the October arrest of a high school volleyball coach on kidnapping and sex with a pupil charges.
Ten staff members were arrested in 2015-2016 on allegations of unlawful conduct, according to the district, and 10 the year before.
The sprawling Clark County district is among the largest in the nation. It covers a county almost the size of New Jersey, with 351 campuses, 320,000 students and 40,000 employees including about 18,000 teachers.
“The vast, vast, vast majority of our teachers are caring and they are committed to the safety and the wellbeing of our students in the classroom,” Skorkowsky told reporters. “I want to make it clear, though, that we are not going to tolerate this behavior.”
Staff members must pass a local background check. However, district human resources chief Andre Long told the Review-Journal that some newly hired teachers may be in classrooms before their FBI check is completed.