Politics & Government

State schools chief suspends convicted Morton teacher

Washington Schools Chief Randy Dorn will suspend the teaching certificate of the Morton teacher convicted of inappropriately touching girls.

Dorn said Wednesday afternoon that the state investigation of history teacher Michael Moulton is complete, and the evidence clearly shows that he violated Washington’s code of professional conduct for teachers.

Moulton hasn’t been in school since classes started Monday. The junior high history teacher has been calling in sick, school officials said.

Parents have demonstrated outside Morton Junior/Senior High School.

The 56-year-old was convicted of inappropriately touching four girls in 2008 and served 16 days in the Lewis County Jail. The Morton School District tried to fire him, but he was reinstated by a hearing officer’s decision in March.

Dorn said he chose to suspend Moulton’s license instead of revoking it because a suspension guarantees that the teacher will be kept out of the classroom for at least three years. A teacher whose certificate has been revoked can apply for a new certificate after one year.

Under state law, Moulton has 30 days to appeal Dorn’s order. If he chooses not to appeal, the order becomes final and the suspension will begin at that time.

Before Dorn announced the suspension, Morton superintendent Tom Manke said he has not talked to Moulton since he initially called in sick, and that the district was researching actions it could take should Moulton continue to miss school.

Morton parents had planned a protest outside Dorn’s office today. It was unknown whether that protest had been canceled after Dorn’s announcement.