Last week, according to Delaware State News and the Smyrna-Clayton Sun-Times, First State Military Academy military instructor Troy McQueen was arrested and charged with three counts of second degree unlawful sexual contact with a student under the age of 18. The charter school dismissed the employee the same day they found out about the incidents. However, what I found next was very disturbing as a parent.
But when I checked the DEEDS section of the Delaware DOE website to see Mr. McQueen’s credentials, he had none. No Delaware, national, or even a college degree. Just to make sure the website was working, I put in a few teachers who I know and their credentials came up right away.
The Clayton-based military charter school issued a statement on the incident on their website:
First State Military Academy became aware of these allegations earlier today (8 Feb 2018), and immediately started an investigation and alerted local law enforcement authorities.
As a result of that investigation, the instructor was removed from the campus, and FSMA dismissed the instructor.
So as not to jeopardize the on-going criminal investigation, we need to refer questions to the proper law enforcement authorities.
According to Delaware State News reporter Craig Anderson, McQueen’s activities with this student were extensive:
According to police in court documents, investigation found that Mr. McQueen had allegedly sent a lewd photo of himself and sexually-suggestive text messages to the cadet.
Also, according to police, inappropriate contact allegedly occurred three times in a basement supply room area.
Police were told by the cadet that the alleged relationship first began with an exchange of phone numbers followed by text messages that supposedly escalated from friendly to sexual in nature, according to documents.
Authorities said alleged text messages from Mr. McQueen supposedly acknowledged the physical contact and that “we have to stop that basement (expletive.)”
I have to wonder about their ROTC Instructor selection process. Did they do a background check on McQueen?
I checked the First State Military Academy website to see their staff and ran a check to see how many of their instructors appeared on DEEDS. While McQueen was taken off their staff roster, they have four listed marine instructors. None of them appeared on DEEDS with any certificates. To do a cross-comparison, I checked Dover High School’s ROTC Instructors. Both are listed on DEEDS. While one of them is listed as “application pending”, the other shows a Standard Certificate on “Specialized Assignment-ROTC Instructor for Capital School District Only”. To be fair, I checked Delaware Military Academy’s Naval Science instructors, and 6 out of 7 of their military connected personnel were on DEEDS. I reached out and ROTC instructor is not a certificate category on DEEDS, but perhaps it should be. At one point it may have been if a Dover High School ROTC Instructor is showing up on there. So why are there no First State Military Instructors on there?
While it may not be fair to lump in all ROTC Instructors with this one case, it does pose questions as to the type of training they receive. It is comparable to training all educators must receive in regards to how to deal with student situations? Are they trained on appropriate and inappropriate student interactions? If not, perhaps it is time one of our legislators changes that if it is not the case. Lest we forget, charter schools ARE public schools and anyone in contact with our children for any type of instruction should have the same laws and regulations applied to them as well.