This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
What a mess in Morton, where school’s back in session this week and the community is already in an uproar over a problem teacher.
At the center of the controversy is middle school history teacher Michael Moulton, who has been repeatedly accused – and now convicted – of inappropriately touching students.
Moulton entered an Alford plea (admitting the strength of the prosecution’s case but not his guilt) last fall and served a 16-day jail sentence for fourth-degree assault.
The Morton School District tried to fire him. But its decision was reversed earlier this year by a hearing examiner who ruled that Moulton’s dismissal violated his protections against double jeopardy.
The school district had goofed when it previously suspended Moulton without pay for 12 days. Had the district continued paying Moulton while he was on leave, the suspension wouldn’t have counted as punishment and school officials would have been free to later fire him.
Better yet, the district could have skipped the suspension altogether and let Moulton go in the first place.