“This is the first that I’m aware of this,” Teacher charged with having relationship with student

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OKLAHOMA - A teacher is charged with having a relationship with a student.

NewsChannel 4 first reported about the accusations against Joseph Kolt Palmer in May.

Thursday, Palmer was charged with one felony count of engaging in sexual communication with minor by use of technology, and NewsChannel 4 has uncovered he left Oklahoma and was hired in Texas as a teacher.

He is currently employed at the Kemp Independent School District in Texas as a junior high physical education teacher.

NewsChannel 4 informed the district about Palmer’s past.

School officials had no idea he was under investigation in Oklahoma when they hired him and did not know he was criminally charged for the offense until NewsChannel 4 told them.

Palmer was a former teacher at Yale High School in Oklahoma.

He was terminated in May 2015 after OSBI began investigating his flirtatious behavior with some of the female students.

NewsChannel 4 learned he then began volunteering at another school district for the remainder of the last school year and lived in Crescent during that time.

However, about a month ago, he moved to Texas.

Lo and behold, the move was to take another job as a teacher.

So, NewsChannel 4 called Kemp ISD and spoke with Superintendent Phil Edwards.

We asked Edwards if the district knew about Palmer's past.

"This is the first that I'm aware of this,” Edwards said.

Kemp ISD had no clue, and they said their background check on Palmer turned up clean.

In addition, on the school’s website, Palmer makes no mention of his time at Yale Public Schools in Oklahoma where he was terminated for the inappropriate relationship he had with a student.

He also claims the job at Kemp ISD is his first year of teaching and completely omits his time in Oklahoma where the offense took place.

"When we hire someone, there is a background check that is done at the time of that,” Edwards said. "That's done through our state databases that shows us these things. I believe that's across the country, but it just may be in Texas."

Edwards also stated, if a potential hire is under investigation in another state, the background check should catch that, as well.

"If it's an investigation of misconduct like this, then that's done through our state agency,” he said.

Edwards said Palmer will most likely be placed on administrative leave while the school district investigates the matter and works with authorities.

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