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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow State agency punishes Pine-Eagle teacher

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State agency punishes Pine-Eagle teacher

HALFWAY — A teacher at the Pine-Eagle Charter School in Halfway has been disciplined by the state teacher licensing agency for using poor judgment in his interaction with students.

During its quarterly meeting in Salem on March 7, the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission agreed to impose a public reprimand on the teaching license of Christopher Howard de Castro, 38, who teaches fifth- and sixth-graders at the Halfway school.

He also will be placed on two years’ probation with the requirement that he comply with the state’s Standards for Competent and Ethical Performance of Oregon Educators. Should he violate those requirements, the commission could revoke his teaching license, revoke his right to apply for a license or take other disciplinary action.

Public record of the commission’s action stated that de Castro’s behavior with students “constitutes gross neglect of duty” in violation of Oregon law, which requires educators to “recognize the worth and dignity of all persons and respect for each individual,” “use professional judgment,” and to honor “appropriate adult boundaries with students in conduct and conversations at all times.”

The final order authorizing the disciplinary action was signed Monday by Victoria Chamberlain, TSPC executive director. 

During the commission’s investigation, de Castro was found to have “used poor judgment in making inappropriate comments to and around students,” according to stipulated facts agreed to by de Castro.

“Students complained that at times, de Castro used inappropriate language, unsuitable references, and engaged in discussions that were demeaning and made the students feel uncomfortable,” the document stated.

De Castro signed the agreement stipulating those facts on Jan. 1, 2014. Chamberlain signed the document Jan. 29.

Complaints against de Castro were received from the Pine-Eagle School District and several parents between April 2012 and March 2013, the record stated.

Tom and Melody Huff were among the parents who complained about de Castro’s interaction with students, including their son.

Melody is a former school employee who worked in food services.

 

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