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AG: AISD must release more info on teacher criminal histories

06:40 PM CDT on Tuesday, May 13, 2008

By AMY JOHNSTON
KVUE News

Austin parents can now find out if teachers with a criminal history work at their child's school. Following an open records request by KVUE News, the Texas Attorney General directed Austin ISD to release more information about the criminal histories of local teachers.

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KVUE's Amy Johnston reports
05/13/2008
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The district only released about half of the database of criminal histories so far. We still don't know what teachers are accused of doing, but we do know where they work.

According to newly released information by the school district, Travis High School has the highest number of certified educators with a criminal history.

As of February 28, 2008, with fewer than half the criminal histories reported, every high school makes this list. The top 5 -- Travis High School has 17 teachers, Akins High School with 13, Bowie and LBJ tie at 11 each and McCallum has 10.

But while Travis High School may top the list of schools, there is one place where more people with a criminal history work, The Carruth Administration Center, or AISD Headquarters. Some 18 people with a criminal history work inside the heart of this school district.

The news is not much better for middle schools. Fourteen of the 18 schools employ teachers with a criminal history. At Burnet Middle School, five teachers have a criminal history. But that doesn't bother some parents.

“If it ain't bad -- as long as their teaching the kids what they're supposed to be teaching,” said Kendrick Bartholomew, middle school parent.

Take a close look at the statistics regarding elementary schools. With fewer than half the criminal histories reported, 50 of 77 schools make this list.

“I don't know what to say about it. But I know it's bad,” said Rolando Cortez, parent.

And the news will likely get worse for parents when the district releases the other half of this list. We have submitted an open records request with a complete list of schools. The district has 10 days to respond. For now, a partial list has been posted.

The district declined to comment on KVUE's story.

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