The arrest of a male Missouri teacher may force open the doors on a scandalous practice that has much too quietly plagued public schools for years. Among insiders, the practice is known as “passing the trash.”
In 2015, the Hazelwood, Missouri, School District fired Deonte Taylor, now 35. On November 13 of that year, Taylor allegedly took a 7-year-old boy out of his classroom and sexually assaulted him in another, empty classroom. According to court documents, Taylor’s DNA was found on the boy’s body and clothing.
“This was a personnel matter that occurred three years ago,” a Hazelwood School District spokesman said this week in a prepared statement. “At that time the person was immediately investigated and terminated. In 2015 the district turned the matter over to the Missouri State Children’s Division and the local police. The Hazelwood School District does not and will not tolerate any abuse of a student.”
That is all well and good, but incredibly this message did not reach the folks at the nearby Ferguson-Florissant School District. The District hired Taylor as a fourth-grade teacher at Walnut Grove Elementary in Calverton Park for the fall semester of 2017. This year Taylor was teaching many of those same children in the fifth grade.
District spokesman Kevin Hampton told St. Louis’s FOX 2 News that the District would not knowingly hire a teacher who had committed crimes against children. But he also said that the background check on Taylor came back clean with no indication of criminal history.
Someone has a lot of explaining to do. Taylor was arrested on Wednesday, three years after he was fired, and his case was allegedly reported to the police and Missouri State Children’s Division.
How is it that he was not arrested in 2015 when the incident happened? How is that the media did not cover his termination? How is that no one in the Hazelwood District noticed that Taylor was now teaching in an adjoining district in a school only five miles from the one that had terminated him?
While these questions are being asked, the parents of the 25 students that Taylor has been teaching for the last two years will be having some anxious conversations with their children.
If the media were not so consumed with unearthing Catholic School sex scandals from 30 and 40 years ago, they might have paid more attention. As of today, the St. Louis media have yet to get a grip on the heart of the scandal, and that is Taylor’s ability to move from one district to another.
For that answer, they want to pay a call on the Hazelwood National Education/Missouri NEA. They need to ask Missouri NEA brass why they did not warn other districts about union member Taylor.