Two Idaho teachers reprimanded for misconduct

BOISE — Two Idaho teachers were reprimanded without discussion on Thursday by members of the Professional Standards Commission, the watchdog group that oversees ethics complaints against educators.

Boise School District teacher George R. Allen received a letter of reprimand in his teacher certification file and is required to take an “approved boundaries” course at his own expense. Allen now teaches English at Boise High School, state records show.

Former Teton School District teacher Melissa Young also received a letter of reprimand and a directive to complete approved courses in ethics and boundaries at her own expense. State records indicate her Idaho teaching license is not currently assigned to an Idaho district or charter.

While teaching at Boise’s Les Bois Junior High, Allen was accused of inappropriately calling students “fat” and “skinny” during class and insulting them by saying they have “mental problems” and “blank spaces in their brains.” Two teachers said they witnessed Allen make fun of or belittle students, according to the complaint. He also allegedly insulted and disrupted the work of female teachers.

Allen waived his right to a hearing and agreed to stipulations outlined Thursday, which does not mean he admits to the allegations, said Robert Berry, a deputy attorney general.

Young, who taught at Rendezvous Upper Elementary School in Driggs, allegedly let students deliver bottles of wine to educators unsupervised in school in December 2020. Young signing the stipulation tied to her case does not mean she admits to breaking laws or rules, but she acknowledges “there is sufficient evidence to support a finding of” rule and legal violations, the stipulation record said.

The commission did not consider a third case on Thursday to revoke the teaching certificate of a Pocatello teacher accused of sexually abusing a child. The teacher, Tiffany Marie Petersen of Washington Elementary School, requested a hearing. The commission is determining a date for the hearing, said State Department of Education spokesperson Kristin Rodine. State law requires ethics hearings to be held within 90 days of a request, unless the charged teacher and state’s chief certification officer agree to a different date.

Petersen pleaded guilty in Feb. 2020 to a charge of misdemeanor injury to a child via an Alford plea that, according to the Idaho State Journal, allowed her to maintain innocence against the charges. She was initially charged with rape and lewd conduct with a minor, both felonies with sentences of up to life in prison. A judge barred her from being around children unless they knew “of her situation and her history,” the Journal reported.

Idaho EdNews data analyst Randy Schrader contributed reporting.

Kyle Pfannenstiel

About Kyle Pfannenstiel

Reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the implementation of policy in Idaho’s K-12 public school system. He’s a military brat and former health care reporter who holds degrees in Journalism and Political Science from University of Idaho. Follow Kyle on Twitter @pfannyyy. He can be reached at [email protected]

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