A former Toledo Public Schools substitute who was accused of inappropriately touching students will likely never teach in Ohio again.
Anthony Peterman, 65, of Toledo has agreed to voluntarily surrender his one-year substitute teaching license, and the State Board of Education could permanently revoke his license at its meeting today. He and TPS also face civil action by the family of one of his accusers.
Mr. Peterman was fired by TPS in March, 2013 after a fifth-grade Arlington Elementary student alleged he inappropriately touched her. The girl told school staff Mr. Peterman touched her “private area.”
He was never criminally charged for the allegation, though Lucas County Children Services’ determined that there was evidence of sexual abuse, according to TPS documents.
The Arlington student said that Mr. Peterman asked to see her belt and asked if it was a picture of SpongeBob SquarePants, according to a TPS report.
The girl said her teacher grabbed her belt buckle, and when she tried to pull away, he would not at first let go. When he did let go, the girl said, Mr. Peterman’s hand touched her “private area.” Mr. Peterman has denied the allegations.
The February incident was not the first time last school year Mr. Peterman was reproached for his behavior with girls at TPS. In the fall of 2012, a Woodward High School student complained that Mr. Peterman dropped a pencil on her stomach while she was lying on a desk, and then picked it up, according to a district report. A friend of the student said Mr. Peterman had tried to drop the pencil between the girl’s legs.
No action was taken at the district level after that incident because officials in the human resources department said they never saw the report. Officials said the report was not given to the appropriate staff, and instead was filed by a clerk.
That failure to act is part of a lawsuit the Arlington student’s family filed against Mr. Peterman and TPS. The family claims the student was placed in counseling and left TPS because of the event, and that her brother, also an Arlington student, faced ridicule from other students.
They also argue that TPS was negligent for not firing Mr. Peterman because of past allegations of sexual misconduct made by other students.
The lawsuit was dismissed earlier this year for procedural reasons, said Joseph Westmeyer III, the family’s attorney, and they plan to refile the suit soon. A message left for Mr. Peterman’s attorney Monday was not returned.