Former teacher is exonerated

Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 11:36 AM
Last updated 11:48 AM
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ATHENS, Ga. - A former Oconee County Middle School teacher has been exonerated of charges he improperly touched two female students.

On Nov. 12 the state Professional Standards Commission dismissed a recommendation to suspend or revoke Warren Burwell's teaching license because of lack of evidence in the case, saying it considered him exonerated.

"This is an unfortunate situation where it appears the system's employees lacked the training necessary to conduct a proper investigation of the allegations," said Burwell's attorney, Michael Daniel.

Days after students told administrators about the improper touching, an Oconee County sheriff's investigator determined that any touching was "accidental" and did not seek criminal charges against Burwell.

School district administrators did not review videotaped interviews of students and did not properly interview an eyewitness, Daniel said.

"The forensic interviews reveal a number of major discrepancies between the two students' accounts of the incident, which demonstrated that the students were not truthful," he said.

In August 2008 one student alleged that Burwell had touched her breast on two occasions. The other accused Burwell of making her uncomfortable after adjusting her shirt before a photo shoot, according to the commission.

Even though a polygraph test backed up Burwell's claims that he was innocent, he said he decided to resign to protect the students instead of fighting a recommendation that he be fired.

"I would have (had) to discredit these students in a public forum," Burwell said. "It would have been a public circus. My calling in education was to help students, not to discredit them."

With the allegations cleared by the PSC, Burwell plans to seek another job as a teacher.

"I would like to think the county school system would give me my job back, but if not I will be able to find a job elsewhere. I am eager to return to the classroom and continue to help educate our children."

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lady_alessandra
0
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lady_alessandra 12/05/09 - 01:03 pm
0
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Sad how this man's career is

Sad how this man's career is probably destroyed because of claims against him -- despite being exonerated.

Russell O
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Russell O 12/05/09 - 04:52 pm
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Innocent until proven guilty.

Innocent until proven guilty. Not the other way around.

charliemanson
1
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charliemanson 12/05/09 - 05:01 pm
0
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With a shortage of male

With a shortage of male teachers, he will probably find a job soon, hopefully.

Roeschen
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Roeschen 12/05/09 - 08:20 pm
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Unfortunately, his name and

Unfortunately, his name and picture have been plastered all over the newspaper. I think that when charges such as these are brought and the person is innocent, the people bringing the charges should have to pay his salary until he finds a new job.

KSL
129903
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KSL 12/05/09 - 08:20 pm
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The students should be dealt

The students should be dealt with harshly for the damage done to him and the cost to the taxpayers. There definitely should be repercussions for them.

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 12/05/09 - 09:31 pm
0
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Since there was no trouble

Since there was no trouble keeping the girls identity secret, there should have been no problem keeping the teacher's identity secret until after an investigation was completed. Who ever released the teachers name and photo to the press should be found liable.

sassygirl12
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sassygirl12 12/05/09 - 09:52 pm
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these teachers are so dang

these teachers are so dang stupid..they already know that before they do anything that, they are gonna get caught. so why risk your job on a fling with a student thats never gonna amount to anything.. you know what, you all deserve what you get...out of a job..start thinking with your head..the one thats on top of your head. and the little tramps that go after these teachers ought to be dealt with as well..i mean the way they dress..come on now..they are asking for trouble

sassygirl12
1
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sassygirl12 12/05/09 - 10:01 pm
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sorry teacher..wrong comment

sorry teacher..wrong comment about you...the little tramps that made these claims ought to be in trouble..they probably liked this teacher and he would not give them the time of day..thats ok what comes around goes around..the little tramps will weep what they sow. they ought to be ashamed of themselves...maybe when they grow up one day and have a son that wants to be a teacher someone will make a false claim against him and he will have to quit his job too..then the little hootchies will see exactly what this poor man is going through...

KSL
129903
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KSL 12/05/09 - 10:32 pm
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jc, our good ole justice

jc, our good ole justice system doesn't work that way. You may be innocent until proven guilty, but what you are charged with and your picture will be plastered all over everywhere. Damage done. Can't you just imagine 2 little middle school girls with a grudge trying to ruin a teachers reputation with bogus claims?

scoobynews
3854
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scoobynews 12/05/09 - 10:51 pm
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0
This kind of stuff happens

This kind of stuff happens all the time. What is so sad is it works both ways. There are crazy adults who really do bad stuff then there are people like this guy who are falsely accused. I always find it funny when a kid pulls the race card at school because when their parent comes in I can say "Want to see my god children?" because their biracial - shuts them down real quick. Parents really need to evaluate what their kids say to them. I have some little darlings this year that LIE right to my face when called out about hitting someone or cheating. Think they don't pull the same stuff at home?

redapples
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redapples 12/06/09 - 12:30 am
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It's sad that our society

It's sad that our society really doesn't subscribe to the notion "innocent until proven guilty." I hope this man is able to put his life back together and find employment and get past this horrible incident.

Fundamental_Arminian
1849
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Fundamental_Arminian 12/06/09 - 04:43 am
0
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Good advice from the Bible:

Good advice from the Bible: "16 If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, 17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Deuteronomy 19:16-21 New American Standard Version). The lying girls deserve whatever the teacher would've suffered if he had been found guilty. Only by serving justice on false witnesses can our government stop this plague of malicious lying.

Fiat_Lux
15429
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Fiat_Lux 12/06/09 - 10:30 am
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I just wonder when this

I just wonder when this commited, upright teacher will get justice for what those brats did to his life. Those girls are just like so much trash getting the opportunity of a free education at our expense, and they are allowed to get away with genuine atrocity. Thye should be punished in such a way that they are never tempted to lie about someone ever again. At the very least, they should lose a year of their own educational lives for such abominable behavior. People like that once were shunned.

Fiat_Lux
15429
Points
Fiat_Lux 12/06/09 - 10:32 am
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I just wonder when this

I just wonder when this commited, upright teacher will get justice for what those brats did to his life. Those girls are just like so much trash getting the opportunity of a free education at our expense, and they are allowed to get away with genuine atrocity. Thye should be punished in such a way that they are never tempted to lie about someone ever again. At the very least, they should lose a year of their own educational lives for such abominable behavior. People like that once were shunned but now they are simply coddled.

corgimom
32599
Points
corgimom 12/06/09 - 12:13 pm
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0
Scooby, aint that the truth!

Scooby, aint that the truth! And the worst kids are the ones that have parents that say "You're picking on my child." That's how they got like that in the first place.

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