J.T. Alton teacher terminated

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Educator accused of ‘inappropriate communications’ with student

By Kelly Cantrall

A male teacher at J.T. Alton Middle School in Vine Grove was fired Tuesday after accusations of inappropriate communications with a student, according to Hardin County Schools officials.

The allegations are being investigated by Radcliff Police Department to determine if a crime has been committed.

Officials at the school and district learned of the allegations Monday, according to an HCS news release. The teacher, who hasn’t been identified by RPD or HCS, was asked to leave Monday after an investigation on the part of district officials, said John Wright, HCS community relations director. The teacher received an official notification of termination Tuesday.

An adult brought evidence of the communications to HCS and RPD, Wright said. Wright didn’t elaborate on the identity of the adult.

Wright wouldn’t comment on whether or not the student attended J.T. Alton, if the student was a girl or boy, or any other details of the allegations, citing RPD’s open investigation.

RPD spokesman Bryce Shumate wouldn’t comment because the investigation is ongoing.

Regardless of whether the teacher will be charged with a crime, Wright said the district’s investigation showed the teacher violated “moral codes” or a code of ethics for education professionals.

According to Kentucky Revised Statute 161.790, a teacher can be terminated because of “immoral character or conduct unbecoming a teacher.”

A substitute teacher is filling in now, Wright said, and the district is considering its options for the remainder of the school year. A long-term substitute is a possibility, he said.

“We’re going to have to find someone who can provide instruction to the students,” he said.

This is the third area teacher fired in the last several years for what the school districts viewed as inappropriate conduct with students.

Natalie Gentry, a former teacher at LaRue County High School, pleaded guilty in March to a charge of sexual misconduct with a 17-year-old student. Gentry received a conditional discharge from jail and is banned from teaching in Kentucky. She originally was indicted on one count of sexual abuse stemming from allegations she had sexual intercourse with the student.

Stephen Gray, a former teacher at Central Hardin High School, went to trial in December 2011 after being charged with two counts of sexual abuse. He was accused of having a sexual relationship with two students and Gray didn’t deny consensual contact with the girls. A mistrial was declared in the case and the charges against Gray later were dropped.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.