State commission reprimands teachers for sexual comments, aggressive behavior

Idaho’s Professional Standards Commission took action Thursday against five teachers who violated the state’s Code of Ethics for public educators.

The PSC — an 18-member volunteer board made up mostly of teachers, school administrators and higher education officials — has the authority to approve, suspend and revoke teaching and administrative licenses in Idaho.

One teaching certificate was revoked last week among the violations that included making sexual comments in class, yelling at and slapping young special education students, and teaching while intoxicated. Two educators received one-year suspensions.

Below are summaries of the complaints against the educators and board stipulations obtained by Idaho Education News through a public records request.

William T. Angell – Fremont County School District

Angell, a middle school P.E. teacher, used physical force against a student.

According to the official stipulation, the teacher held his right hand around a student’s neck for several seconds. Angell later apologized to the victim, completed the school’s Love and Logic course and went on district probation from April 12 to May 30.

The PSC issued Angell a letter of reprimand.

James Cupps — Boise School District

While teaching construction at the Dennis Technical Education Center, Cupps made repeated inappropriate sexual comments to students in class.

“Examples of these comments include repeated references to his penis size while measuring things in the class or stating he would put ‘another kind of cream in there’ if the student removed the lid on his coffee,” the official PSC complaint against Cupps states.

The PSC voted to suspend Cupps’ teaching certificate for one year. He also will have to take an ethics course and boundaries course.

Tracy Housh — Nampa School District

Housh was observed engaging in aggressive behavior toward special education elementary students.

She slapped students’ arms and shoulders, held their wrists and shoulders tightly, dragged and pulled students and frequently yelled at students, according to the PSC stipulation.

Housh denied that she violated the code of ethics. She resigned from the Nampa district on March 14.

The PSC revoked Housh’s teaching certificate.

Jan M. McCarthy — Pocatello-Chubbuck School District

McCarthy’s credentials were used to alter student information and scores in the online grade book. She denies she changed the grades, but acknowledged that she didn’t properly protect her credentials.

McCarthy was disciplined at the local level, and has changed the way she secures and stores her credentials and electronic devices, according to the PSC stipulation.

The commission voted to issue McCarthy a letter of reprimand. She’s also required to take a digital citizenship training course and ethics course.

Kevin Shepherdson — Boise School District

While working as a sixth-grade teacher at Trail Wind Elementary, Shepherdson was reported to the principal for intoxication. According to the official stipulation, the principal drove Shepherdson to a testing center, where his blood-alcohol content tested at double the legal driving limit.

He immediately resigned from the school and enrolled in a treatment program. He’s stayed sober since his release from treatment and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice daily, the stipulation states.

Shepherdson now operates a landscaping business.

The PSC voted to suspend Shepherdson’s teaching certificate for one year. Before returning to the classroom, he’ll need to “submit evidence that he is fit and able to safely teach,” according to the commission.

Idaho Education News data analyst Randy Schrader contributed to this story. 

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber

Sadie Dittenber, a former reporter with Ed News that focused on K-12 policy and politics. She is a College of Idaho graduate, born and raised in the Treasure Valley.

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