State investigating allegations of sexual misconduct - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

State investigating allegations of sexual misconduct in Selma City schools

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SELMA, AL (WSFA) -

The Alabama State Department of Education has launched an investigation in Selma following complaints and concerns from "a number of sources" regarding sexual misconduct inside Selma City Schools.

 In a letter drafted to Gerald Shirley, the Superintendent of the Selma City School District, State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice writes that his office has received numerous "reports, expressions of concern, and requests for assistance from a number of sources regarding improper and perhaps illegal activities allegedly occurring in Selma City Schools."

In the letter dated June 13, 2013, Dr. Bice writes that allegations include and center on inappropriate sexual activity involving school system employees and students during school hours and at school-sponsored events. Some of the activities were alleged to have occurred on school property. 

[DOCUMENT: Selma City Schools Investigation (.pdf)]

"If substantiated, these allegations would present serious concerns regarding the adequacy of school supervision, discipline, and governance," writes Bice. "In any case, the allegations implicate sufficient risks to the welfare of Selma students to warrant invocation of the State Superintendent's statutory authority to investigate their validity and impact on educational conditions in Selma's schools."

Dr. Bice has designated his Chief of Staff, Dr. Craig Pouncey, to coordinate and oversee an investigation into the specific complaints received by his office. Any documents pertaining to any charge or internal investigation regarding alleged or suspected sexual misconduct must be turned over by the school system to the investigators in this case.

"It is my hope that the results of the forthcoming investigation will enable me to conclude that the reports on which it is based are without factual foundation," writes Bice. "On the other hand, if those reports are supported by credible evidence, the State Board of Education and this office will implement every available measure to ensure that an appropriate educational environment is restored and maintained in all Selma Schools."

Selma High School teacher Latengela Williams was arrested on April 19 on charges relating to sexual misconduct. She was specifically charged with Possession of Obscene Matter Containing Visual Depiction of Persons under 17 Years of Age Involved in Obscene Acts, Electronic Solicitation of a Child, Enticing a Minor for Immoral Purposes, and School Employee having Sexual Contact with a Student. 

The letter from ALSDE gives no indication if Williams' arrest was included in the reasoning behind the investigation. 

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