Superintendent Arntzen Clashes with Board of Ed over Misconduct
Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen told KGVO on Friday that she plans to take the state Board of Education to court over allegations that the board refused to hold a hearing on an educator’s license for alleged sexual harassment and immoral conduct with a student.
The Superintendent requested that the Board revoke this license in December of 2018. At their January 2019 meeting, the Board voted not to hear the case. The OPI filed with the Helena District Court to overturn the Board’s decision in February of 2019. In December of 2019, the District Court ruled in the OPI’s favor and returned the case to the Board for further action. On Thursday, the Board voted 5-1 to dismiss the case without a hearing again.
“We have evidence of a teacher having sexual misconduct and very unethical behavior with our most precious students,” said Arntzen. “To have the Board of Public Education in Montana, who is appointed by the governor go ahead and say no, we don't even want to look, we don't even want to see, we don't even want to have any discussion. We're just going to say no.”
Arntzen said this is not the first time her office has made this request of the Board of Education.
“This is the second time in front of them,” she said. “We had to go to District Court, and they said no a year ago, so we went back. We went to court, Judge Seeley and the District Court remanded it back to the Board of Public Education to give an opinion, and they once more said no, they're not going to.”
We have evidence of a teacher having sexual misconduct and very unethical behavior with our most precious students,” said Arntzen. “To have the Board of Public Education in Montana, who is appointed by the governor go ahead and say no, we don't even want to look, we don't even want to see, we don't even want to have any discussion. We're just going to say no.
Arntzen said she feels that she must take the matter back to the courts.
“We're going to go to court and I will take this all the way,” she said. “A letter has gone to the board. A letter has also gone to the governor to make sure that they understand to protect our children is utmost and is it is one of the things that our families deserve.”
Arntzen said several entities have been involved in this matter.
“Was the union involved in this? Most definitely,” she said. “Were parents involved in this? Most definitely, however the Board of Public Education shirked their duty and did not listen to what even the parents were saying. And I find this to be appalling, and the Board of Public Ed needs to do their job.”
KGVO has received the following letter from Peter Donovan, Executive Director of the Board of Public Education.
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