Rhee Now Says Some Teachers Fired for Abuse of Students

DC Schools Chancellor Rhee says teachers fired for sex with students

Another controversy involving D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and the firing of more than 200 teachers last October as part of a budget cutting move is brewing.

Inappropriate relations with students apparently were among the reasons some teachers were let go by D.C. Public Schools in the fall, according to Fast Company.

"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school," Rhee says. "Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?"

The official reason for the cuts was a budget deficit.

Washington Teachers Union president George Parker called Rhee's statements reckless and said the union received no information that any of the fired teachers was accused of sexual misconduct against children. He said one teacher faced action for administering corporal punishment.

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray said any abuse should have been reported to police. He wants Rhee to explain her comments Monday.

Pearl Christian, a former DCPS teacher let go under Rhee's restructuring said the comments add insult to injury by hurting the former teachers' chances of landing teaching jobs in other school systems. She added that teachers get accused of such abuses frequently but rarely do the accusations hold up.

The Rhee disclosure came just days after it was disclosed this week that the private Sidwell Friends School in the District had fired a teacher who is now facing charges of sex with a minor away from the campus.

Police in Montgomery and Queen Anne's counties haved charged middle school teacher Robert "Pete" Peterson, who taught seventh and eighth grades. He allegedly had sexual contact with a male Sidwell student in the teacher's Silver Spring home.

Rhee's office has not responded to a News4 request for more information on how many teachers were fired for having sex with children and whether they were in classroom assignments at the time of any offenses.

In the February issue of the Fast Company business magazine that's just out, Rhee responds to criticism that she used a budget crunch as a pretext to firing teachers.

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