A substitute teacher has been banned from working for the school district after a report of an incident where he told two black students he heard they were trouble and he was supposed to “shoot” them.
The incident reportedly took place January 16 at Hickory Hills Elementary and Middle School. The teacher has not been publicly named by the district nor Penmac Education Staffing who provides substitutes to the district.
Springfield Public School Communication Director Stephen Hall said the district moved quickly when they learned of the teacher’s alleged statements in a statement to OI:
On January 16, we received a report regarding comments allegedly made by a substitute teacher. These alleged comments are disturbing, unacceptable, and are completely at odds with who we are as a school district.
Immediately upon learning of these allegations, our administrator notified Penmac of the situation and escorted the substitute from the building.
There is zero tolerance for any comment like those described. SPS remains committed to ensuring that all of our students thrive in a learning environment where they feel safe, welcomed and respected.
Because of that commitment and our refusal to accept any behavior that fails to meet those standards, we can confirm that this individual was removed from the list of eligible SPS substitutes, on the same day the allegations were made, and will not return to SPS in any capacity. We assure our students, parents and staff that timely and appropriate steps were taken to address this situation in accordance with the policies outlined in our partnership with Penmac.
When reached for comment, Penmac sent a statement via email to OI.
Penmac Education Staffing takes the allegations made against the substitute teacher who was assigned to Hickory Hills Middle School very seriously. We have no tolerance for such behavior. The substitute in question is suspended from all assignments, pending the completion of a full investigation. We are cooperating fully with Springfield Public Schools in the completion of that investigation.
All Penmac substitute teachers are fully screened and certified in accordance with Missouri laws. All substitute teachers undergo a full criminal background check, performed by the Missouri Highway Patrol. (Note: OI tried to contact the parent of the only identified child involved in the incident for comment but did not receive a response.)