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Published: Tuesday, 4/22/2014

Toledo Board of Education terminates Bowsher teacher

BY NOLAN ROSENKRANS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo Board of Education voted today to terminate a Bowsher High School teacher who has racked up a string of district offenses and criminal charges.

Anthony J. Mitchell, 39, has been arrested several times in recent months, and has a pattern of alcohol-related criminal charges in the past decade. Toledo Public School officials also say he lied to them by calling off work as sick when he was really in court. He was previously suspended for sending sexually suggestive text messages to a student, according to district documents.

Mr. Mitchell, who has taught for TPS since 2004, has been suspended for months, but district administrators notified him April 8 of their intention to fire him. The school board approved the termination recommendation at its meeting today.

Mr. Mitchell was suspended Jan. 10, after he was arrested the previous day for disorderly conduct while intoxicated, according to TPS documents. That charge was later dismissed.

The next month, TPS added new charges against Mr. Mitchell, claiming he had called off work three days as sick, but was actually either in court or possibly in jail, district documents show.

Despite his suspension, Mr. Mitchell continued to represent the district "in school matters relating to your supplemental position as the yearbook advisor," according to district documents.

Mr. Mitchell had been arrested in November for drunken driving, according to Toledo Municipal Court documents. Officers found Mr. Mitchell about 6:30 p.m. Nov. 3 on the curb at Woodsdale and South avenues. He struggled getting out of his car, and fell into the officer. The arrest report showed Mr. Mitchell had three previous drunken driving incidents at the time.

There's no record of TPS suspending him over that incident. He pleaded guilty in December, spent three days in jail, and received 177 additional days suspended sentence.

Mr. Mitchell was stopped at about 6 p.m. March 26 on I-75 on the DiSalle Bridge for a lane violation. About two hours later, he was arrested and cited for drunken disorderly at an unspecified Toledo location.

The drunken disorderly charged was dismissed.

In May, 2012, Mr. Mitchell sent a series of late night text message to a student, calling the student sexy, according to a TPS transcript of the conversation. Mr. Mitchell later told the student through text that he thought he had been texting someone else.

He was suspended with pay from May 21, 2012, through Aug. 27, 2012, and he was prohibited from being a senior class advisor. Mr. Mitchell signed an agreement with the Ohio Department of Education, under which his teaching license was suspended during the period he was suspended by TPS. He was also required to complete a drug and alcohol assessment, and complete any treatment or counseling recommended by assessment.

The text messages were described in the consent agenda as "inadvertently sent" to the student.

TPS Chief of Staff Brian Murphy said he believes Mr. Mitchell has requested arbitration; Mr. Mitchell will not be paid during the arbitration process.

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



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