APS board fires teacher accused of sexual harassment - Albuquerque Journal

APS board fires teacher accused of sexual harassment

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Public Schools headquarters in Uptown. Roberto E. Rosales/Journal

Albuquerque Public Schools has fired a West Mesa High teacher accused of sexually harassing a student.

APS board members met behind closed doors Wednesday to conduct a discharge hearing and deliberate the fate of Scott McLeod. They returned to open session after roughly two hours and voted unanimously to follow Superintendent Scott Elder’s recommendation to terminate him.

McLeod told the Journal he had no comment following the decision. He taught for the automotive program at West Mesa High.

APS officials would not disclose the circumstances surrounding Mcleod’s dismissal, saying they couldn’t discuss personnel matters. But documents released by the state Public Education Department reveal that he was accused of sexually harassing an unidentified 17-year-old student he referred to as his granddaughter.

Specifically, he was accused of making “inappropriate comments” about the student’s appearance.

“You’re really attractive … I shouldn’t (even) say this … but your senior picture shows your boob, like when they had you turn sideways, you can see your boobs,” McLeod was recorded saying in school around the end of February 2021.

The PED is seeking to suspend McLeod’s teaching license for 18 months.

The sexual harassment allegation and proposed discipline are outlined in a statement of contemplated action from PED.

Proceedings with the PED are ongoing, spokeswoman Judy Robinson said.

According to PED records, McLeod’s secondary vocational-technical license expires at the end of June 2023.

APS had previously placed him on paid administrative leave in the summer of 2021, along with former state Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton and seven others who were vocational education teachers, or otherwise connected to the use of Robotics Management Learning Systems.

Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office investigated Stapleton for racketeering, money laundering and receiving illegal kickbacks, focusing on her relationship with Robotics and her alleged routing of money meant for vocational education to businesses and charities in which she had an interest.

Stapleton resigned as New Mexico House majority leader in July last year amid the investigation, “unequivocally” denying any wrongdoing.

In September, she was charged with more than two dozen felonies, including racketeering and money laundering. Her case is scheduled for trial in December.

It is unclear whether the Stapleton scandal played any role in APS’ decision to fire McLeod.

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