A teacher at a Tulsa charter school is suspended after the school says the teacher kissed an 11-year-old student on the cheek and then made an inappropriate joke. The incident happened at Discovery School of Tulsa, a charter school on Friday but was reported to the school principal on Monday by the child's parent.
The school sent an email to all parents Tuesday.
"I think every parent is alarmed when they hear that there is something going on- something inappropriate with a teacher and student. But, I read through the whole email and there were certain things in the email that set me at ease," says one parent who got the email. The parent, who has a kindergarten student, attending Discovery School of Tulsa believes the parent would have called police immediately if the allegation rose to a different level.
"And the fact that the parent of the student in this incident handled it in that way...made me think it was, maybe, inappropriate for the teacher to do but it is not a major threat to the children of the school," says the parent.
Still, the school says the first year teacher is suspended and Tulsa Police are looking into the incident.
Because public charter schools are exempt from the state minimum salary schedule, some local teachers earn thousands of dollars less than their counterparts teaching in traditional districts.
Each year, the Oklahoma State Department of Education produces a minimum salary guideline for public school teachers. The guideline increases teachers' salaries as their teaching experience and education increase…
Some local public charter schools, however, do not meet the minimum because of budget problems, administrators said.
Kaan Camuz, the superintendent of Discovery School of Tulsa and Dove Science academies in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, said the schools negotiate contracts with each teacher individually.
Education Department data show that often, the schools' pay does not meet the state's minimum salary standards.
"We would like to pay even more to our teachers, but with the budget cuts, we have to wait," Camuz said.According to the state's database, at least 17 teachers at Discovery and Dove are paid less than the state's minimum.
One second-year teacher with a bachelor's degree at Dove Science Academy, for example, earns a total of $27,300 - or about $4,600 less than the state's minimum salary schedule for a person with a degree and one year of experience.
Camuz, who earned $75,000, said the schools usually pay more to math and science teachers because the schools emphasize those subjects. The state data, however, show that teachers of other subjects sometimes get as much, if not more, than math and science teachers…