Cheyenne School Official Outlines Teacher Screening
A top official with Laramie County School District #1 says people applying for jobs as teachers in the district are subject to extensive back ground checks and other forms of screening before being hired.
Dr. Tracey Kinney is Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for the district. She says in addition to background checks for any kind of criminal behavior, prospective teachers are interviewed at length before being hired and their references are thoroughly checked.
Kinney says that in terms of screening out potential sex offenders among those applying for teaching jobs ''I think we are getting better and better at recognizing some warning signs."
She also says across the country a heightened awareness among students about what constitutes inappropriate behavior has led to more extensive reporting by students of questionable acts by teachers. In LCSD#1 she says steps have been taken to heighten student awareness of inappropriate behavior ranging from sexual harassment to bullying. Professional development efforts among district employees in an effort to target sexual harassment or abuse has also been stepped up in recent years in the district.
Kinney says the district also follows up on any reported incidents by asking "what could we do better."
In 2015 former Freedom Elementary School teacher, Anna Andersen pleaded no contest to second and third-degree sexual abuse of a minor for what prosecutors said was a two-year sexual relationship with a 12-year-old boy beginning in 2012. She was sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison.
Matt Bell, a former sixth-grade teacher at Henderson Elementary School, was sentenced to ten years of supervised probation in U.S. District Court on Tuesday after pleading guilty to intent to view child pornography.
A math teacher at Johnson Junior High School in Cheyenne was recently charged with eight counts of first-degree sexual assault of a minor. That case was recently bound over to District Court after the teacher waived his right to a preliminary hearing.