Arrested teacher fired for failing to pass required test

June 09, 1998|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

An award-winning Woodlawn High School physics teacher who was suspended Friday after arrest for violating probation has been dismissed from his $36,000-a-year job.

Curtis Lee Jones was notified by a letter from Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione yesterday that his teacher contract was not being renewed.

Jones won the school's Unsung Hero Award and its Employee of the Year Award Friday -- the day after he was arrested -- after guiding a group of his students to sixth place in a national solar bike race for high school physics students.

Jones said that he received a letter yesterday informing him that his provisional contract was not being renewed because he failed to pass the National Teacher Exam within the required two-year period of his being hired in 1996.

"I just think they're making a big mistake," Jones said.

Baltimore County School spokesman Donald I. Mohler III declined to comment, saying it was a personnel matter.

Jones had been placed on probation in Howard County District Court on Sept. 22 after his arrest last year. He was charged March 22, 1997, with a handgun violation when the car in which he was riding was stopped by police in Columbia at 2: 25 a.m. and officers found a handgun under a seat.

Jones was arrested Thursday for violating terms of his probation by not writing a 2,500-word essay on the dangers of guns.

"I'm admitting that, yes, this all comes from me not doing that report. But I just took it for granted that if worst came to worst, they would have warned me about the report," Jones said.

Jones, 38, of Woodlawn acknowledged that he was warned about being required to pass the teacher's exam by July 1 or face dismissal.

But he said that he was unable to take the exam when he showed up for it May 2 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County because the check he had written to pay for it was for the wrong amount, and he had no other checks with him.

Pub Date: 6/09/98

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