Parents of students at one Virginia elementary school are upset, saying the school’s administrators were careless when they hired a teacher just days after she was indicted on drug charges.
WTKR News reports administrators at Franklin City Schools hired 36-year-old Elizabeth Ferguson Sept. 29 to teach first grade at S.P. Morton Elementary.
According to court documents, Ferguson was indicted Sept. 22 on two felony charges of distribution of heroin.
“I’m mad,” said grandmother Ernestine Manley outside the school Monday. “Nobody ever told me as a grandparent that this actually happened.”
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School spokesman Kelvin Edwards explained how the indictment went unnoticed, saying the school system didn’t knowingly hire someone with drug charges pending.
“Did we know about her charges? The answer is no, we did not,” Edwards said, noting that Ferguson was hired with her background check pending.
The story comes close on the heels of another story in which a Virginia Beach teacher was sentenced to three years in prison for marijuana and heroin charges.
WVEC News reported 40-year-old James Brydge’s sentence in October. Brydge was a teacher at Tallwood High School. He had pleaded guilty in July to charges that he was selling drugs to at least one other teacher on school grounds. School officials said they didn’t think he was selling drugs to students.
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It doesn’t appear that Ferguson was either. Her mother told WTKR News on Monday that her daughter didn’t even know there were drug charges against her when she went in to apply for the job. Her mother insisted Ferguson was innocent of the two charges. Ferguson, herself, was not available to comment.
The school placed Ferguson on paid leave when the indictment came to light. She resigned from her job Monday. Edwards said the school immediately accepted the resignation.
He also said he believes the school system will likely revise its hiring policies.
“It’s something we definitely need to look at,” Edwards said. “We can always look at revising policy because there is always an opportunity for improvement.”
Ferguson is not due in court until January.