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Former JC teacher loses license

Former JC teacher loses license

August 16th, 2017 by Phillip Sitter in Local News
In this Oct. 13, 2014 file photo, East Elementary teacher Aaron DeSha addresses the Jefferson City Schools Board of Education about classroom discipline issues. On Aug. 15, 2017, the State Board of Education revoked the teaching license of De Sha, who had resigned from his job Jan. 4, 2016 following an earlier incident in which he pushed and injured a student.

In this Oct. 13, 2014 file photo, East...

Photo by News Tribune /News Tribune.

The State Board of Education on Tuesday revoked the teaching license of a former Jefferson City Public Schools teacher who pushed and injured a student two years ago.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had recommended in July that the board revoke the teaching certificate of Aaron De Sha, who had been a fifth-grade teacher for the duration of his career with JCPS.

De Sha said during his hearing with the state board in November that before the December 2015 incident leading to revocation of his license, he had worked for East Elementary School for 10 years, according to the transcript of the hearing.

"I'm glad I worked at East Elementary. It was a good job, it was a good provider for my family, and I loved the community and the children," he said at the November hearing.

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In December 2015, he self-reported to Julie Martin, then-principal of East Elementary, he had pushed a 10-year-old student who had been disrespectful to him.

"He asked the students to take off their coats, one student refused and got disrespectful with him, and he yelled at the student to take off his coat, the student yelled back at him," Martin said in November. "Mr. De Sha then approached the student and pushed him two-handed. The student fell and hit the corner of his eye on the counter."

The student suffered an eye laceration and swelling.

De Sha was sent home immediately after the incident, and he resigned from his job Jan. 4, 2016.

"I'm not going to refute any of the charges against me. From the get-go, I've taken responsibility for my behavior," he said.

He said at the time of the hearing he didn't want to lose his license so he could keep the option of teaching again in the future, although he did not want to teach at the time.

"For the last five years, I did try to transfer out of the school. It was a very hostile work environment, very, I guess you could say, unforgiving to teachers, not a lot of support; and my state of mind was not where it needed to be. And that's my own fault. You know, I react to the situations, I react to my environment, I make those choices," he told the board in November.

In 2014, he had missed three weeks of work because of job-related anxiety, he explained during the hearing: "I did have a breakdown." He said he received counseling and finished the rest of that school year. He said he asked to be transferred again but continued at East Elementary the following year.

In an October 2014 News Tribune article, De Sha said he was frustrated with the handling of student behavior issues. "I'm speaking on behalf of teachers because I'm tired. I'm questioning whether I've gotten into the right profession," he said.

He told the state board his reaction to the student he pushed was not really about that student, but to "the entire situation."

"Certainly does not excuse my actions. I know I broke the cardinal rule of teaching," he said.

The board concluded De Sha had "neglected his duty to that student and the students who observed the altercation. Additionally, it is 'not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behavior' for a teacher to physically harm a student, and clearly immoral," according to the case documents included with the hearing transcript.

De Sha refused counsel at his November hearing.

"Whatever happens today, I'm going to be OK with," he said at the time. He added at least twice, though, he hoped through his experience that he could speak as a representative for teachers whose frustrations with the job and the system affect their personal lives.