SPM teacher fired for heroin arrest
Published 9:50 am Saturday, December 13, 2014
Elizabeth Ferguson was arrested on Sept. 26 in Suffolk on two alleged felony charges of distribution of heroin. On Dec. 5, Ferguson was fired from S.P. Morton Elementary School after the system learned of the charges from a background check, said Franklin City Public Schools Superintendent Willie Bell.
When Ferguson was arrested, she allegedly had a substance they suspected was heroin in her vehicle, according to the Suffolk Police.
“When the school was notified, the employee was released immediately,” Bell said of the Suffolk woman.
Ferguson had been working as a first-grade teacher at the school, said Danielle Williams, whose daughter was in her class.
Other than to say that Ferguson had not been with the system since the beginning of the school year, Bell would not say when her employment began. Williams said her daughter started school in mid-October. When she began classes, Ferguson was in place.
“I never would have thought she was doing that,” Williams said about Ferguson allegedly having distributed heroin. “This is shocking.”
Alexice Jenkins, whose daughter is in the same homeroom block where Ferguson taught, said she was outraged because the children are often sent to other homerooms on the block. Ferguson’s was one that Jenkins’ daughter had been sent to.
“I thought Mrs. Ferguson was out sick,” Jenkins said. “Why wouldn’t they tell us this? How would you feel if you are trusting your children to be around an individual technically eight hours a day, and this man, or this woman, is [allegedly] doing something like slinging drugs?
“That makes me scared to send my children to school, having to worry about drugs potentially being there.”
When asked about background checks, Bell declined to comment on the matter.
According to the school board’s policy manual on employment, “The Board will not hire or continue the employment of any part-time, full-time, temporary, or permanent personnel who are determined to be unsuited for service by reason of criminal conviction or information appearing in the registry of founded complaints of child abuse and neglect maintained by the Department of Social Services.”
Further, “As a condition of employment, any applicant who is offered or accepts employment, whether full-time, part-time, permanent or temporary with the Franklin City School Board shall submit to fingerprinting and provide personal descriptive information. The information and fingerprints shall be forwarded through the Central Criminal Records Exchange to the Federal Bureau of Investigations for the purpose of obtaining criminal history record information on applicants who are offered or accept employment.”
Ferguson’s arraignment date is scheduled for Jan. 7, in the Suffolk Circuit Court.