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Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 2/16/2013

TPS substitute accused this week of inappropriate touching faced similar accusation in October

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo Public Schools substitute who was accused this week of inappropriately touching a fifth-grader faced accusations in October that he acted inappropriately with a TPS high school student, yet continued to teach in the district.

Anthony Peterman, 64, of Toledo was removed from Arlington Elementary School and taken off substitute duty Monday, after a 10-year-old girl reported he had touched her inappropriately.

He faces a TPS hearing on the incident next week, and Toledo police and Lucas County Children Services are investigating.

But Monday was not the first time this school year that Mr. Peterman was reproached for his behavior with girls in TPS. A report filed against Mr. Peterman in the fall at Woodward High School mentioned student complaints about how Mr. Peterman allegedly interacted with a girl.

Mr. Peterman has denied acting inappropriately in both incidences, and claimed ignorance of the Woodward report.

“I wouldn't do anything like that, and I don’t remember that,” he said Wednesday. “Somebody is just embellishing and adding on to things.”

No action was taken against Mr. Peterman by TPS after the Woodward report. Woodward Principal Emilio Ramirez said he did not contact Children Services or police because he felt the matter centered on classroom management and was not sexual in nature.

But his thoughts have changed since Monday’s incident.

“In retrospect, from now on I should probably call CSB if there’s anything that was remotely hinting that way,” he said.

On Oct. 31, a Woodward student complained that Mr. Peterman was “being really weird,” according to a TPS report.

The girl said the substitute teacher was watching her dance and asked students when she was in the bathroom where she was so that he could watch her dance again. The student also said that Mr. Peterman dropped a pencil on her stomach while she was lying on a desk, and then picked it up, according to the report.

A friend of the student said Mr. Peterman had tried to drop the pencil between the girl’s legs.

The girl who had the pencil dropped on her only said it landed on her stomach, Mr. Ramirez said, and his decision to not further pursue the matter was based on that student’s report.

No action was taken at the district level because officials in the human resources department said they never saw the report. Cheryl Spieldenner, TPS chief human resources officer, said the report was not given to the appropriate staff, and instead was filed by a clerk. District administrators weren’t aware of the Woodward report until The Blade inquired Wednesday about any possible past allegations of misconduct by Mr. Peterman.

If the human resources department had known about the report, Children Services would have been contacted, and Mr. Peterman would have been blocked from substituting until an investigation concluded, Ms. Spieldenner said Thursday.

“That is not the way it should have been handled,” she said. “This stuff isn’t tolerated. We want to make sure this stuff is addressed immediately.”

New safeguards were implemented this week after the Woodward report was found, and Ms. Spieldenner said it’s likely TPS staff will be reprimanded after an investigation into Mr. Peterman’s conduct and how the district reacted is complete.

The October incident was also not the first time a teacher or principal had formally complained about Mr. Peterman’s behavior.

The class’ regular teacher, according to an email in the report, had complained about Mr. Peterman's performance and asked to not have him substitute for him.

He has six other “unsatisfactory substitute reports,” a formal report by schools of misconduct or poor performance by a substitute.

The other reports center on either poor classroom management, rude comments to students, or failure to teach classes, but don’t contain any other allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.



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