Few licenses revoked in Nevada

Nevada is among the states with the fewest instances of teachers’ licenses being revoked or denied because of sexual misconduct allegations, according to an Associated Press study.

Between 2001 and 2005, only 10 licenses from Silver State teachers were revoked or denied, ranking Nevada ninth among the states and Washington, D.C.

California, with a population more than 10 times Nevada’s, led the nation with 313 such instances.

Education officials in Nevada lauded the statistics and cited them as evidence that the state’s screening process for hiring teachers is keeping child predators away from the classroom.

But one education advocate criticized the state because more than 10 teachers were charged criminally with sexual misconduct in that time period.

She used Nevada’s low rate of denying or revoking licenses as evidence that state officials aren’t doing enough to keep teachers who victimize students away from classrooms.

“It presents a very dismal picture of Nevada,” said Terri Miller, president of Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation. The national nonprofit group is composed of volunteers.

Miller, who lives in Southern Nevada, successfully lobbied the Legislature to pass a law in 1997 that prohibits sex between school employees and 16- and 17-year-old students.

“With as many cases (of sexual misconduct against teachers) that have come to light and to only have 10 teachers lose their license, they (state officials) are not doing their job,” Miller said.

According to Review-Journal research, Southern Nevada alone had 17 cases between 2001 and 2005 where teachers and substitutes at public and private schools were charged with some type of sexual misconduct. The most serious cases involved allegations that teachers had sex with students who were minors or forcefully groped students.

Two of the 17 cases were dismissed in court. Most of the cases involved instructors who were teaching for the Clark County School District. Additional cases during that time period involved district employees who were not teachers. Those cases were not included in the Review-Journal’s research.

The AP study concluded that more than 2,500 teachers nationwide had their licenses revoked or denied between 2001 and 2005. Minors were the victims in at least 69 percent of those cases and most of the cases involved students.

Mary Armstrong, general counsel with California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing, supported Miller’s contention that it’s not necessarily bad if states have more instances where teachers’ licenses were revoked or denied. She said the Golden State’s high number of teacher license revocations and denials is a positive sign that her state is vigilant in protecting its students.

“California does a very good job monitoring teachers in the classroom and taking action against them when necessary,” Armstrong said.

She said California has more than 330,000 teachers, so having 313 licenses revoked between 2001 and 2005 represents a small percentage of troubled teachers.

Nevada has about 23,000 licensed teachers, 15,000 of whom work in Clark County, which has the nation’s fifth-largest school district.

Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Keith Rheault said the State Board of Education waits until cases are completed in the courts before teacher licenses are yanked.

“Everybody is innocent until proven guilty,” Rheault said.

He also said private school teachers are not required by law to be licensed by the state. It was unclear how many of the 17 teachers who were charged criminally taught at private schools.

But as a whole, Rheault said Nevada’s statistics are generally positive.

He said that unlike many states, Nevada’s school districts require prospective teachers to have their fingerprints examined with databases from the FBI and local law enforcement agencies.

Fingerprints of applicants who apply for teacher positions in Clark County’s public schools are checked by the FBI, Las Vegas police and the Nevada Central Crime Repository. Rheault said state school systems have been using those safeguards since the 1980s.

The state also has access to a database — not available to school districts or the public — that checks potential teachers’ Social Security numbers with a database monitored by the teaching licensing directors of all 50 states.

This can determine if applicants have criminal records. The state’s education office is responsible for teacher licensing.

Clark County schools Superintendent Walt Rulffes said the state and school district are doing a good job denying teachers who are criminals access to students.

He attributed the success to the collaboration among the district, the state and law enforcement agencies.

But Rulffes said even one case where a child is victimized by a teacher is too many.

“We want to be measured by having none of these instances occurring,” he said. “There are entirely too many of these cases happening throughout the country.”

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas @reviewjournal.com or (702) 799-2922.


States with the fewest teachers who had their licenses revoked, denied, sanctioned or surrendered from 2001 to 2005:

Hawaii………………….. 0

South Dakota……….. 1

Washington, D.C…… 2

Maine…………………… 3

Virginia…………………. 6

North Dakota……….. 6

Mississippi…………….. 6

*Nevada………………… 10

*State with ninth fewest instances when teachers had their licenses revoked, denied or sanctioned.

States with most instances where teachers had their licenses revoked, denied, sanctioned or surrendered from 2001 to 2005:

California………….. 313

Texas…………………. 204

Pennsylvania……… 132

Washington………. 125

Florida………………. 109

Oregon……………… 109

Source: The Associated Press

Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Volunteers gather for annual Clark County homeless count
Volunteers gather for the annual Southern Nevada Homeless Census, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who can understand hospital price lists?
Lists of costs for procedures, drugs and devices are now posted the websites of hospitals to comply with a new federal rule designed to provide additional consumer transparency. Good luck figuring out what they mean.
People in Mesquite deal with a massive power outage
People in Mesquite respond to a major power outage in the area on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local astronomers host super blood wolf moon viewing
The Las Vegas Astronomical Society paired with the College of Southern Nevada to host a lunar eclipse viewing Sunday night. Known as the super blood wolf moon, the astronomical event won't occur for another 18 years. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The third annual Women’s March in Las Vegas
The third annual Women’s March in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @btesfaye
First former felon to work for Nevada Department of Corrections
After his father died, Michael Russell struggled for years with drug addiction. When he finally decided to change for good, he got sober and worked for years to help others. Now he is the first former felon to be hired by the Nevada Department of Corrections. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing