Morton teacher jailed for touching students appeals suspension

MORTON – The Morton teacher at the center of a controversy over his conviction for inappropriately touching students has appealed the suspension of his teaching certificate.

Nathan Olson, a spokesman for the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, said today that Michael Moulton appealed the suspension Sept. 30. The suspension had been announced last month by state schools chief Randy Dorn.

The state suspended Moulton’s teaching certificate following an OSPI investigation, which in turn followed a court proceeding.

The junior high history teacher was convicted of fourth-degree assault in 2008 after being accused of inappropriate touching. He entered an Alford plea, acknowledging that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him but not admitting his guilt.

He served time in the Lewis County Jail. The Morton School District fired him, but he was reinstated following a hearing officer’s decision in March.

Parents in Morton pulled their children out of the classroom in protest at the beginning of the school year after they heard Moulton would return. He didn’t show up to school, calling in sick during the first few days of the year.

Moulton’s appeal to win back his teaching certificate is scheduled for a hearing before the state Admissions and Professional Conduct Advisory Committee in November. The committee is made up of nine administrators, teachers and others from around the state.

If the appeal is not successful, Moulton could ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge and, ultimately, before a Superior Court.

During the appeals process, Moulton’s teaching certificate remains valid, Olson said.

Debbie Cafazzo: