Beaverton middle school teacher resigns over misconduct allegations; many parents not told
KATU discovered a Beaverton middle school teacher resigned over misconduct allegations, and many parents were not told about the case until after a KATU reporter started asking questions.
The former Conestoga Middle School teacher was not accused of a crime, but authorities say his communications with 11 female students crossed boundaries and that some of his communications were sent late on school nights.
District and state officials also say the communications took place repeatedly after the teacher, Paul Mulloy, was warned to stop.
KATU learned about the case not from a district or state-issued news release but from a link labeled "Educator Sanction List" buried on Oregon's Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) website.
If you click on it you get lists of educators the state has disciplined.
"You're smart, beautiful ..."
For about five years Mulloy taught humanities at Conestoga Middle School in Beaverton.
In early January of 2016 Maureen Wheeler, a Beaverton School District spokeswoman, said some parents reported a problem.
"This teacher did not maintain professional boundaries with students," Wheeler said Friday. "While he might have been mentoring and answering questions and encouraging students, it went beyond his role as a teacher."
Wheeler and the TSPC said Mulloy communicated inappropriately with female students through social media and text messages.
"These were not current Conestoga students, middle school students," Wheeler explained. "These were former students that had moved onto the high school level."
Though she said his communications were not criminal, in late January of 2016 Mulloy was given a warning.
"He was issued a directive, a letter of concern to stop and cease that kind of communication," Wheeler told a KATU reporter.
She said parents of the children involved were told about the case and that Mulloy was allowed to keep teaching with some additional monitoring, but she said parents of students who weren't directly involved were not notified.
"Again, this did not rise to the level of criminal behavior and so we would work with the appropriate students and the teacher involved in disciplinary measures," Wheeler explained.
In August of 2016, Wheeler said the district received word from another concerned parent. She said they'd found out Mulloy had still been communicating with students through texting and social media.
"At that point, we investigated again what the findings were and he was put on paid administrative leave," she said.
The TSPC says Mulloy sent one female high school student more than 150 emails after receiving the letter of concern.
Investigators say he sent one at 12:19 a.m. on a Saturday saying, "You're smart, beautiful, kind, fun to be around...You will have plenty of success."
Another sent at around 11:20 p.m. on a school night reportedly said, "Hey are you still up?"
And they said an email sent at about 9:30 p.m. on another school night said, "Hey. So you popped up on my Instagram like search thing and I saw a picture of you from prom and you looked great just fyi :)..."
"There was just further concern for not following directives and not being forthright," said Wheeler, "so he resigned from the district in October of 2016."
The TSPC posted a final stipulated order to its website in November of 2017 saying Mulloy's teaching license was suspended for 30 days.
Wheeler said parents of students who were not involved were not told about his resignation or the investigation because "again this is a disciplinary measure with a teacher and that’s just not standard procedure."
KATU discovered an email about the case was sent to parents of Conestoga Middle School students Friday afternoon after the interview with Wheeler.
TSPC Deputy Director Trent Danowski said Mulloy was originally charged with professional misconduct at the June 2017 full commission meeting. The commission meets four times per year typically in January, April, June and November.
Danowski sent KATU an email saying in part:
"All educators charged by the TSPC Commission have the right to Due Process / Appeal before any TSPC sanction becomes final. The Stipulated Order, as issued in the Mulloy case, is one outcome possible of an educator’s Due Process after being charged by TSPC. The Stipulation of Facts signed by the educator in July 2017 is a result of negotiation between the educator and the agency. The negotiations in the Mulloy case would have began soon after the June Commission meeting and ended upon the date the educator signed the document."