Today the Education Standards and Practices Board made their decisions about discipline for state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and her former fiance Todd Tschosik.
Baesler had been charged with assault for allegedly throwing a candle at Tschosik, but those charges were dropped last month. Tschosik, on the other hand, has multiple DUI convictions on his record as well as a charge for domestic violence against Baesler from Florida (those charge was dropped after Baesler refused to cooperate with law enforcement). Tschosik has also been reprimanded by the Bismarck Public School District for abandoning showing up late for work, excessive absenteeism, and on at least two occasions leaving a classroom full of kids completely unattended because he didn’t show up for work.
At one point Tschosik’s supervisors sent a law enforcement officer to his home to do a welfare check because they were concerned about his wellbeing.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, the board decided not to take action against Baesler or Tschosik.
The Baesler decision is understandable, I think. The criminal charges against her were dropped, and she is innocent until proven guilty.
Tschosik is another matter entirely, I think. While the Florida incident is disturbing, he wasn’t found guilty in court. It can no more be used against him than the Baesler’s charges can be used against her. Even the DUI’s are not necessarily enough of a reason to take action action against his license.
But leaving a classroom full of kids unattended? Twice?
C’mon. From the Tribune:
Tschosik did not attend the meeting. DePountis recounted his history of police-related incidents that has come to light following the February incident between him and Baesler.
Tschosik is on probation after he pleaded guilty to a driving under the influence charge in December, she said. He was also arrested for DUI in 2011, and he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.
A battery charge against Tschosik was dropped this summer after an alleged domestic violence instance against Baesler in Florida.
DePountis also referenced a letter of reprimand in his Bismarck Public Schools personnel file. Tschosik has been placed on an improvement plan following absences at work.
She said the board could decide to take action against Tschosik based on his DUI charge for being convicted of an offense that has a direct bearing on his ability to serve as a teacher. The board could also decide to discipline him for refusing to perform the duties of a teacher, or for violating the board’s code of ethics.
However, she said she did not believe the board had evidence to support any of those bases.
That’s a little hard to believe. Tschosik’s DUI convictions are not in dispute, nor is the fact that he has a problem with job abandonment. The board had plenty of evidence to act on. That they didn’t is exemplary of a common gripe about public education, which is that it’s almost impossible to cut through excessive red tape and entrenched bureaucracy to get rid of bad teachers.