Bad Apples: Ala. Supt. Morton cites 75 teacher revocation cases

Dr. Joe Morton, Supt. of Education
Dr. Joe Morton, Supt. of Education
AEA photo of Dr. Joe L. Reed
AEA photo of Dr. Joe L. Reed

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - License revocation for Alabama educators for having sex with students, drinking and smoking marijuana while operating a school bus, cheating and more.

It's a laundry list of bad behavior; case examples that Dr. Joe Morton, the retiring superintendent of the Alabama Department of Education, is using to respond to an Alabama Education Association article critical of his performance as leader of the state's public education system.

Morton, speaking at the Education Board's regular meeting Tuesday, July 12, provided each board member with copies of Reed's article and summary information on 75 cases involving teacher license revocation, proposed revocation and application denials.

They were the response to AEA Associate Executive Secretary Dr. Joe L. Reed's article in which he accuses Morton of being "openly hostile to public educators." The article appears in the AEA's July 4th edition of "Alabama School Journal".

The cases, which do not go into specifics involving which school system or teacher, range in date from as late as July 2011 to as far back as July 2009.

[MORTON'S CASE SUMMARIES - Reasons for teacher license revocation (.doc)]

Reed's article says Morton "Loved revocation of teacher certificates" and that the superintendent looked for "any little reason to revoke a teacher's certificate."

Morton countered that the pulling of these licenses and the reasons behind them were anything but petty or trivial.

Morton's summaries show that 15 of the 25 proposed revocations, which are not yet finalized, including drug use and or sexual misconduct.

"This is a serious, serious topic," Morton said. "When you see something that is put in a  publication that goes to 100,000 people and is picked up by the media, it is an assertion that myself and my office are out to unduly punish and trivialize this issue. It's just not true."

Morton called Reed's article "wrong-minded for our state."

When reached for comment, Reed told WSFA 12 News, "The public needs to know, and the teachers need to be reminded how he's treated us over the years."

WSFA 12 News will have more from Reed and Morton on our report at 10:00pm.

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