PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Recently-released court documents reveal details about a former NE Portland gym teacher’s possible history of sexual misconduct.
Mitchell Whitehurst, who was a gym teacher at the Faubion School, plead guilty to physically harassing a fellow PPS employee in 2015. Whitehurst was sentenced to 18 months of probation for misdemeanor harassment.
Court documents from the employee’s lawsuit against the district reveal Whitehurst was also the subject of sexual misconduct complaints from students that may not have been thoroughly investigated or reported to police.
According to the documents, several student allegations were reported to the district from as far back as 2001, accusing Whitehurst of sexual misconduct that allegedly occurred as long ago as the 1980s.
The documents allege the district found the accusations unsubstantiated or did not investigate them thoroughly. A Faubion principal even indicated in an email to PPS that she was concerned complaints could lead to a Penn State University scandal.
Whitehurst was also the athletic director at Jefferson High School at one point, but his teaching license was revoked earlier this year. After the initial harassment case, he was allowed to retire from PPS.
Portland Public Schools interim chief of community involvement and public affairs, Courtney Westling provided the following statement to KOIN in response to this case:
We of course take student safety seriously. Not only are there state laws that exist, and governing standards for the profession as set out by the Teachers Standards and Practices Commission, we currently have policies and training in place that relate to staff-student interactions. We understand why there are questions being asked in light of this lawsuit, and we are responding to the allegations in state court. Because of that, we not able to respond to the detailed questions presented at this time.