Law prevents predators from becoming teachers … if used properly

Published: Oct. 29, 2019 at 7:45 PM EDT
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(10/29/2019) - Eight females, all former Goodrich High School students, all claim they were subject to what they call creepy and disturbing behavior by David Davis.

We told you in September about a six-page report from Goodrich Area Schools about the now-former high school Assistant Principal and Athletic Director.

It laid out a pattern of grooming female students, escalating to the proposed payment for nude photos once the girls graduated.

The documents alleged Davis used Snapchat to send a 5-category price list to a group of former students, suggesting how much he'd pay for different types of nude photos.

One incident in the report said Davis went to Michigan State University and brought alcohol to three former students - all underage - and asked them about sex toys.

Davis quit Goodrich as the school board was moving to fire him in September 2019.

But, this wasn't his first teaching or coaching job.

We found Davis worked at Atherton Community Schools from 1997 to 2008, when he also abruptly resigned.

He wasn't hired at Goodrich until 2013.

We wanted to know if this behavior started in Goodrich, or if Davis had similar issues with former students before?

In a Freedom of Information Act request, we found he did. Two separate investigations at Atherton High School showed this pattern of behavior, but this time with current students.

One, in 2005, involved an 18 year old student complaining of Davis's constant phone calls, even in the middle of the night.

That investigation simply said Davis showed a 'lack of judgement'; but it did suggest Davis's interactions with female students 'should be monitored'.

The second investigation in 2008 is far more disturbing. It alleged Davis gave alcohol to a 17 year old student, took her to a Piston's game and then offered to pay her for sex.

We've reached out to Davis for comment, and haven't heard back. The report shows Davis never denied all of the claims.

He did, however, defend himself in writing to Atherton Community Schools, saying "I find it very disturbing that I must defend myself against allegations that I believe are unsubstantiated."

He quit, once again, as the board was moving to fire him in July 2008.

So, now we wanted to know how could someone who clearly had a history of concerning behavior around students be hired by another district?

"I think you have to stay within the bounds of the law," Clio Area Schools Superintendent Fletcher Spears said.

He explained there's a law in place that allows schools to access some information from a potential employee's personnel file, but only if the district asks.

"And we rely on the answer we get back with, you know, yes we do; and then they send that information with that, or no they don't," he said.

But Spears pointed out, documentation is key. He said, "Oftentimes, you'll have an employee that it's just best to part ways with. And there may have been some behavior that led to that particular final straw or decision. And so, if a district did agree to a separation, but didn't follow through with any kind of written response as to the behavior that precipitated that separation, then nothing would be reported."

But what if you fire someone for inappropriate behavior and the new district doesn't ask about their records? Should the old school call the new school and warn them?

"It would be unfair to a candidate and or others for a district and it might lend itself to some legal trouble to call up and say 'Hey I don't care for so and so,' you know, and sabotage their job. That's definitely not anything you want to do," Spears explained

Atherton did have documentation on Davis... did Goodrich ask for it?

We know Davis was hired full time in 2014, but his files showed he had been working for them through the Genesee Education Consultant Services.

Goodrich asked them for Davis's discipline records. The replied saying his record was clean.

I stopped by to ask if they were aware of the allegations at Atherton. In a statement, GECS' CEO said: "We believe we have integrity and fidelity in our hiring process."

Schools are required to do background checks on employees and are supposed to do reference checks, but how can you be sure the teacher or coach interacting with your child every day can be trusted?

"Wish I had that wand because I'd waive it," Spears said.

He doesn't have a magic wand, but made it clear that educators take the responsibility of protecting your kids seriously.

The Attorney General's Office has appointed an Assistant Attorney General to the case. We'll keep you updated as we learn more.

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