Teacher lets license expire, students petition to save his job

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Students in Washington County are rallying around a Westview High School history teacher who's about to lose his job.

Robert Stafford admits he let his teaching license expire. By law you have to be licensed to be in the classroom.

"Through nobody's fault but my own I allowed my teaching license to expire," Stafford said.

Stafford says he thought he was taking the necessary coursework, but should've been more aware.

The teacher of 10 years has been on paid leave since winter break. But on Jan. 13, he's out of a job.

"This decision by the district to terminate me is because they want to, not because they have to," he said.

Stafford wants more unpaid time to get his license renewed. His students think it's reasonable. Their online petition has a thousand signatures.

"To me he's been one of the best teachers I've had at Westview and that's in the last four years, so I thought they would've been bending over backwards to try to help him get back," said senior Jackie Salzinger.

But the district says Stafford's had his chances. It warned him three months before his license expired in August. Then the state gave him 120 days.

"We want the highest caliber teachers in front of our kids, that includes them being responsible for maintaining their personal license, that's their responsibility, not ours. And so if he doesn't fulfill those and he still wants to teach, well, I guess that's a dilemma," said Beaverton School District spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler.

Stafford doesn't expect the school board to cut him any slack either. So he shared a final lesson with his kids.

"They need to continue to apply themselves they need to continue to think for themselves, and they need to continue to live up to the almost unlimited potential they have as young adults," he said.