The Saturday line is open. Not much doing.
* WATCHING THE SKIES: You undoubtedly know by now of the arrival Sunday of a serious cold front. It’ll mean less than in inch of snow in Little Rock, but a good bit more in some northern counties. The bigger news appears to be very cold temperatures. Lots of maps and Weather Service info here.
* GUN NUTTERY TODAY: One of the Meeks boys said on Twitter that they gathered 54 with strap-ons for another one of those fearless “open carry” demonstrations in Conway today. The legislature decisively defeated a bill to allow open carry. It is not protected by the Constitution. But some terrible legislative drafting on a little ol’ cleanup bill (perhaps aided by malicious subterfuge) has created enough confusion that the nutters are having their fun. Happily, their numbers are tiny. I still don’t get what they are so afraid of. Is a strap-on really required to go to a coffee shop, the grocery store, church and school? And, if so, why not the Capitol?
* ESTEM STATEMENT ON TEACHER ARREST: A former teacher at the eStem charter school downtown — Jashua Cameron, 24, of Bauxite — was arrested Friday for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student last August. She reported he’d put his hand in her pants and made other advances. He was suspended after the report and an investigation begun.
eStem’s leader, John Bacon, sent a letter to school parents about the matter today. It follows:
By now, you may be aware of the arrest yesterday of a former eStem teacher, Mr. Joshua Cameron. As the safety and security of our students is of paramount importance to us, I want to make sure our parents know the steps we take to be both proactive and reactive in situations like this.
Before any employee is hired at eStem, we conduct a background check as well as reference checks. If there are any “red flags”, an employment offer will not be granted. In this specific case, there was no indication of any issue in the federal or state background checks that were conducted.
In spite of our best efforts, we know we can not ensure that everything will always run smoothly. For this reason, we have procedures in place to address incidents that arise. As reported in the newspaper today, Mr. Cameron was accused of inappropriate conduct by a female student on August 28th. That incident was first reported to a school counselor who subsequently informed the school director and me of the allegation. The teacher was immediately brought in for an interview and was placed on leave pending an investigation. Due to the serious nature of the allegation, a report was made by the school to the DHS Hotline which opened an investigation through the Little Rock Police Department. The school cooperated fully with the LRPD investigation while conducting an internal investigation of the allegation, as well. An additional report was made to the Professional Licensure Standards Board at the Arkansas Department of Education.
Mr. Cameron did not return to the classroom, and on September 4th, Mr. Cameron’s employment with eStem was terminated via resignation from his position with the school. As always, the safety of your children remains foremost in our minds. We will continue to review our processes and procedures to ensure that, to the best of our abilities, your children are taught by staff who possess the academic knowledge, instructional expertise, and professional judgement we all expect.