Ex-convict fights to be allowed to teach in Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A former Kansas middle school teacher who served prison time on a federal drug charge has asked to have his teaching license reinstated. But a commission recommends that the Kansas Board of Education deny Terrance Vick's application when it meets next week, as it found he repeatedly has failed to provide true and complete information when applying for jobs.

Vick's troubled history began in 1997, when he was arrested and accused of being a middleman between a drug buyer and supplier. Vick, now 40 and living in Grandview, Mo., was teaching in Wichita at the time. He accepted a plea deal the next year and was sentenced to three years in prison. Kansas stripped him of his teaching license, too.

Several previous attempts to have his license reinstated have been rejected, most recently in 2009. Vick appealed to the Shawnee County District Court, which sent the case back to the state board. Members of the board requested that the Professional Practices Commission conduct a full hearing, which was held in March.

Vick testified that he is currently self-employed and has started a youth basketball league. His voicemail said it wasn't taking messages.

In a 2009 story in the Topeka Capital-Journal, Vick stressed the drug case had nothing to do with his teaching job.

"I can't go back," he said. "I wish I could, but I can't go back and change it. I can't. And so I've still continued to stay in education. I've still continued to work."

While Kansas allows teachers whose licenses have been revoked to reapply after significant time has passed, the commission determined Vick wasn't a good candidate. It found that he had lied on applications and on his resume. The commission said Vick failed to disclose his felony conviction and falsely claimed to have a master's degree in psychology from Wichita State University.

A report from the commission also noted instances in which Vick said his Kansas license had been suspended or expired, rather than revoked. Several times he said he had been employed at the YMCA in Wichita during the time he was in prison.

Vick testified that he was trying to "get his foot in the door" and then was "forthright and honest."

But the report from the commission said the evidence "conclusively establishes a pattern of dishonest behavior by Mr. Vick and a lack of recognition of the importance of being honest and forthright."

A report said that Vick began applying for teaching jobs in other states after he was moved from prison to a halfway house in January 2001. The document said Vick was supposed to tell his probation officer if he left the state, but didn't when he traveled to Baltimore for an interview. He told the principal that when his probation officer called, the principal should act as if the interview was conducted over the phone, the report said.

"And if I had to do it all over again, sir, I'm going to be honest, I would have done it the exact same way," Vick testified during the hearing. He didn't get the job.

The report said that Vick had taught in private schools during his supervised release and after it ended in July 2003. He landed a job at the Urban Community Leadership Academy, a soon-to-close Kansas City charter school, after falsely claiming in his 2006 application that his Kansas license had expired and that he had never been convicted of a serious offense.

In January 2009, Vick was fired over a YouTube video that showed public school students clad in T-shirts and camouflage pants marching in formation and declaring how Obama sparked their aspirations to be architects, lawyers and entrepreneurs.

The University of Central Missouri decided in November to sever sponsoring ties with the Urban Community Leadership Academy, saying at the time that the charter school's policies weren't always followed, including one that required pre-employment background checks.

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