A principal served four years and two months in prison for attempted murder. Another pleaded guilty to embezzling $73,033 in electronics from his school. One teacher struck a student, and several others were accused of misconduct involving students.

All of these individuals surrendered or lost their teaching license, and each of them was later reinstated by Mississippi’s commission responsible for disciplining educators.

Through open records requests and a review of the minutes for the Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development, The Clarion-Ledger found that since 2009, 52 educators’ licenses were reinstated following a previous revocation, suspension or voluntary surrender. Records show the commission issued licenses to another 23 educators despite knowing they had been convicted of felonies or lost their licenses in other states — sometimes for serious offenses.

Asked whether it’s acceptable to give licenses to educators who have been disciplined in Mississippi or other states or to those who have been convicted of felonies, State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said, “I am but one person, and as state superintendent, I do not override the commission. I have no interface with the commission, the statute is clear about who’s on the commission and until statute says (otherwise), we have to abide by statute.”


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