State board suspends 5 teachers

OKLAHOMA - Five Oklahoma teachers had their teaching certificates suspended at the State Board of Education meeting Thursday.

All are accused of inappropriate conduct involving minors.

Curtis Lowe was an Oklahoma City teacher accused of sexual battery on a student.

Gregory Durbin was a Broken Arrow teacher accused of lewd proposals to a minor.

Brandon Parker is from the McAlester area, and he plead guilty to federal charges of possession of materials sexually exploiting minors.

Tishomingo teacher, Shelley Duncan, is accused of having a relationship with a 14-year-old student.

And, Joseph Palmer is a former Yale teacher also accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Earlier this week, NewsChannel 4 learned Palmer was currently teaching in Texas.

“The individual did not list Oklahoma as a place that that person had worked, and that is what I am told,” said state superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

Had Palmer listed that work experience, the Texas district could have searched him through a new portal available through our state education department.

And, a new law in our state is making the suspensions easier and making it so districts can communicate with each other and report things like that to the state.

“Before, you would simply have situations where someone would resign and, once an individual has resigned, then that school district no longer has the ability to take action,” Hofmeister said.

Lowe’s teaching certificate was actually expired, but the board voted to suspend it anyway.

“Because what we don’t want is for that person to try or attempt to renew without that status update,” Hofmeister said.

State officials said it’s a matter of student safety and, with Thursday’s action, the five teachers will not be allowed in a classroom.

They are, however, entitled to a due process hearing before the board where their certificate can either be reinstated or revoked permanently.