State disciplines five educators for ethics violations

Idaho’s Professional Standards Commission (PSC) — an 18-member board charged with approving, suspending and revoking teaching certifications — took action Thursday and Friday against five Idaho teachers who violated the state’s code of ethics for public educators.

EdNews obtained public documents relating to the cases up for consideration at the commission’s June meeting.

Below are summaries of each case, with violations ranging from criminal child abuse charges to anger issues in the classroom, as well as the disciplinary actions approved by the commission.

Brian Bartley — Caldwell School District

While working as a teacher in the Caldwell School District, Bartley exhibited “anger management issues” in front of students, a PSC stipulation reports.

According to the document, Bartley used profanity and “threatened to hang multiple students from the roof of the school building.”

The PSC reports Bartley admitted his behavior violated a section of the code of ethics mandating educators maintain a professional relationship with students.

This week, the commission voted to place a letter of reprimand in Bartley’s file, and mandated he complete an ethics course, classroom management course and at least three anger management sessions with a licensed counselor.

Louis Ellwood — Bonneville School District

PSC documents allege Ellwood, a former educator in the Bonneville district, initiated an inappropriate relationship with one or more students prior to his Aug. 2023 resignation.

According to the complaint, Ellwood exchanged inappropriate communications with a student via text, social media and handwritten notes. His messages were “personal and unprofessional in nature” and some messages seemed “romantic in nature,” PSC documents report.

Ellwood referred to a student as a “cutie” in messages and on social media, and wrote that she “loves hot dads.” In a handwritten note, Ellwood said the student was his favorite, adding “don’t tell anyone” in the note.

The commission approved a two-year minimum suspension of Ellwood’s teaching certifications, with an ethics course and boundaries course required before reinstatement.

William Keylon — Coeur d’Alene School District

Keylon was convicted of felony injury to a child and sentenced to four months in jail in Sept. 2023, after a former student accused him of sexually abusing her more than a decade prior.

According to a report from the Coeur d’Alene Press, the victim, who is now an adult, said Keylon engaged in sexual activity with her between the ages of 15-18, beginning in 2012 and continuing for several years.

Keylon pleaded guilty to the charges through an Alford plea, which allows a defendant to plead guilty while also claiming innocence.

Keylon taught at Lake City High School from 2003 until his resignation in 2022.

The PSC voted this week to permanently revoke Keylon’s certifications — an automatic penalty for anyone found guilty of felony injury to a child.

Bret Miller — Nampa School District

PSC documents allege that Miller, while employed in the Nampa School District, did not properly respond to a fight between students in his classroom.

He did not respond to the fight as it was happening, file a report after the fight, or check on the victim of the fight during class. Students gathered around his desk to watch the fight after it concluded.

Miller was released from the Nampa district in Oct. 2023.

The PSC’s voted to place a letter of reprimand in Miller’s file, and mandated he complete an ethics course, a student safety course related to career-technical education and a classroom management course.

Jeffrey Wilkes — Teton County School District

Wilkes was convicted of felony injury to a child and misdemeanor sexual battery in May 2023, after sexually abusing a female student while employed as a teacher, football coach and wrestling coach in the Teton district during the 2017-2018 school year.

According to a report from East Idaho News, Wilkes laid on top of the victim and performed wrestling moves on her before ejaculating. He communicated with the student over text, solicited sex acts and asked for nude photos, the report states.

Wilkes was sentenced to up to five years in prison. His teaching certificate expired in 2023.

The PSC voted this week to permanently revoke Wilkes’ certifications — an automatic penalty for anyone found guilty of felony injury to a child.

EdNews data analyst Randy Schrader contributed to this report.

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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