OKLAHOMA - NewsChannel 4 learned a former Oklahoma teacher, accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student, is working at a school in Texas.
Joseph Kolt Palmer is charged with engaging in sexual communication with a minor by use of technology.
His new superintendent was unaware of his past in Oklahoma until our investigative team made a phone call.
People are questioning how Palmer was able to get a teaching job while under investigation.
We spoke with the Texas Education Agency.
A spokesperson said to get their state certification teachers are fingerprinted and their background is check through the FBI.
TEA said, at the time of Palmer’s check, he had not been charged with a crime, so there were no red flags.
"He knew that charges were coming. So, what did he do? He got up and bailed and went to Texas and, when he bailed and went to Texas, he basically created, found another loophole," said Oklahoma Senator Kyle Loveless.
Two years ago, Loveless co-authored a bill in an effort to close these loopholes.
"Basically, it created a system so that districts could communicate with each other. Before this, it was illegal for districts to talk to each other on teachers that had these allegations, because it was 'a personnel matter,'" Loveless said.
Since the law went into effect last November, about 30 accused educators have been caught trying to get a job somewhere else.
Loveless is pleased with the progress but said Oklahoma can do better.
"They are sick people, and we have to get them out of the classroom, and that's where we need to, we need to catch our laws up," Loveless said.
One proposed change is harsher punishment for those convicted.
"If you're going to do that, you're going to jail for a long, long time. No if, ands or buts, and you're going to pay,” Loveless said. “In my mind, that's a bill I offered before, and it didn't really go anywhere. I'm going to try again. I'm going to keep trying, because our kids are worth it.”
Thursday, the Oklahoma State Board of Education will be discussing Palmer’s teaching status.
If the board decides to revoke his certification, then they will report that to a nationwide data base.
We reached out to Palmer’s family members for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Superintendent Phil Edwards at the Kemp Independent School District in Texas, where Palmer’s employed, sent us this statement:
"We are working with authorities locally and at the state level to investigate the Oklahoma charges we are only just now hearing about.
I can tell you that we thoroughly screened the employee in question prior to hiring him - as we check all our employees - and found his record to be clear based on information available at the time. That employee is now on administrative leave as we continue looking into this matter.
Student safety is and will remain an issue of paramount concern at Kemp ISD."
UPDATE: On Tuesday, an arrest warrant was issued for Joseph Palmer for engaging in sexual communication with a minor by use of technology.