Despite resignation, former Wando teacher could lose teaching license
By Natalie Caulancaula@abcnews4.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - The Wando High School teacher accused of showing the film Jackass 2 in class resigned Thursday.
Christopher Poston tendered his resignation to Charleston County School District officials.
He was expected to go before the school board next week for the hearing to appeal the district's recommendation for termination, issued on Wednesday, February 9. He had 15 days to appeal the recommendation.
On March 8, he filed his appeal. The appeal shares detail of the incident -- details Poston's attorney argues is in several ways different from the story told by district administrators.
When Poston dropped off his appeal at the district office a week ago, he said he never meant to cause trouble.
"I just want to apologize to Mr. Wagner's class and everybody that thought I harmed anybody. I didn't mean any harm," Poston said.
Poston was working as a substitute in Arnold Wagner's Latin class. The 36-year-old teacher's appeal argues he was watching Jackass 2 on his laptop when students asked him what he was doing. Poston and his attorney argue he attempted to use clips from the movie to explain Poston's area of focus as a teacher -- sociology.
"Although I have regrets concerning my showing of that film several weeks ago, I remain confident that what I did in the classroom over the years truly helped students and young adults with their educational experience and on some occasions, I believed I helped them become more responsible and engaged citizens," Poston wrote in his resignation letter.
"There can never be a doubt that I truly cared and do care, about my students."
Poston's attorney Jay Masty says the support for his client from former and current students and teachers was clear.
"It has not stopped. I have received at least 100 calls at this office from parents and students," Masty said. "I almost come away with the impression this is a super teacher."
More than 2,000 people signed or commented in support of Poston on the online petition site, change.org. In his resignation letter, Poston also expressed concern over the students who became so expressive over their support.
"My resignation is tendered in part, to protect my family and the students who have expressed such kind words about me after this event, students that may be harmed by their continued support of me," Poston wrote in his letter.
Masty says Poston was also concerned about his future as an educator in South Carolina.
"Ultimately he was concerned that if he were fired that it would affect his license and his ability to teach somewhere else which is exactly what he wants to do," Masty said.
But his resignation may not be the answer to protecting his professional future as a teacher in the state.
Jay Ragley is director of the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the South Carolina Department of Education. While Ragley is prohibited from commenting on specific cases or matters dealing with personnel, he could address the issue of teacher's licenses.
"If a teacher resigns in the middle of a school year for a reason that may involve alleged misconduct, the school district is required to report that to the South Carolina Department of Education," Ragley said.
The SCDOE spokesman says the department is required to conduct an investigation into the matter. Ragley says the case is reviewed by the South Carolina Board of Education, made up of elected members by the General Assembly. Within that board, the Educator Certification Committee would review the case, according to Ragley.
"Their role is to hear cases involving teachers and possible misconduct," he said.
Ragley says the committee can clear the teacher or revoke his or her teaching certificate. He also says the teacher has the option to make the hearing public, otherwise it remains closed. School district officials would not comment on Poston's resignation. It is still unclear whether or not they've officially reported Poston to the state department of education.
Web Producer Brian Troutman contributed to this report.