SALEM - A former Salem teacher who quit amid allegations of an improper relationship with a 17-year-old female student is no longer permitted to teach or coach in Ohio.
Brian D'Angelo voluntarily signed a consent agreement with the Ohio Department of Education and State Board which took effect earlier this month, suspending his five-year teaching license from now until its expiration on June 30, 2015 and permanently preventing him from applying for a new one.
According to the document, which can be seen on the ODE website, the agreement was based on stipulations, admissions and understandings which included conduct unbecoming. Specifically, the document said "Respondent engaged in conduct unbecoming a licensed educator by allegedly failing to maintain appropriate student-teacher boundaries."
Ohio Department of Education Associate Director of Communications John Charlton said a record of the disciplinary action will be entered into the NASDTEC Clearinghouse, which is accessible to members in all 50 states, U.S. territories and the Canadian provinces. NASDTEC stands for National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.
Charlton explained that if a teacher loses their teaching license in Ohio and applies for a teaching license or job in another state, officials in the other state can check the NASDTEC and see that there was a disciplinary action.
Teachers have an option for a hearing to challenge state disciplinary action, but in D'Angelo's case, there was no hearing since he entered into the consent agreement. He agreed that he will not reapply for any license, permit or certificate with ODE, which Charleton said is the same result a permanent revocation of his license would accomplish.
"The bottom line is he's not going back in a classroom anytime soon," Charlton said.
According to the suspension, he's "prohibited from performing any educational activities, coaching activities or other duties within the state of Ohio that require a certificater, license or permit through the ODE during the suspension period."
The 42-year-old Poland resident had taught social studies and did some coaching for the Salem district since being hired in 2003. He was placed on paid administrative leave on March 20, the day some classmates of the female student approached school officials with the allegations about the alleged inappropriate relationship.
"We treated it seriously from day one. It was handled properly and I think the end results speak for themselves," Salem Schools Superintendent Tom Bratten said when asked Monday about the state action.
"The due diligence that we needed to complete this task was important to the outcome. The results bore out that effort," he said.
The district cooperated fully with a criminal investigation into the allegations and used that information in its own case regarding D'Angelo. Salem Police Det. Dave Talbert had revealed that biological evidence linked D'Angelo to the girl's bedroom, but because she refused to disclose any criminal conduct by him, the case was closed with no charges filed. If new information comes into play, the case can be reopened.
D'Angelo resigned effective Aug. 18 and the school board accepted the resignation. At the time, Bratten said the former teacher's personnel file and the investigative file related to the allegations would be sent to the Ohio Department of Education Office for Professional Conduct, as required by law.
The Office of Professional Conduct investigates allegations against teachers that may involve conduct unbecoming the teaching profession or criminal conduct. The ODE website includes eight principles teachers are expected to follow according to the licensure code, including maintaining "a professional relationship with all students at all times, both in and out of the classroom."
The consent agreement said the ODE can reinstate formal charges if D'Angelo violates any of its terms and conditions. If he's arrested, summoned, indicted, convicted or pleads guilty or no contest to any offense other than a minor misdemeanor or traffic offense, he has to notify the Office of Professional Conduct.
Information about the Office of Professional Conduct and how it operates can be found on the ODE website at education.ohio.gov. Click on teachers, then educator conduct. Information on a teacher's licensing and any discipline can also be found there by going to educator conduct search and typing in the teacher's name.