Ex-teacher of year must give up teaching license
Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 8:36 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 8:36 a.m.
A former Alachua County teacher of the year from Chiles Elementary School has signed a deferred prosecution agreement in which he will give up his teaching license over allegations that he inappropriately touched students.
If math teacher Glen A. Nichol fails to meet the terms of the 36-month agreement, he can be charged with lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under the age of 12.
Alachua County Public Schools spokeswoman Jackie Johnson said Wednesday morning that Nichol, 39, resigned on April 4. He was placed on administrative leave on April 26, 2012, after the allegations were made and remained on leave until Sept 24. He was given a non-teaching technology job in a district facility after that.
A parent of one of the children involved, who is herself a teacher, said most of the alleged touching involved caressing. However, she said one student was touched on her genitals over her clothing.
“With my daughter, he was seated and she was standing next to him. He stroked her from below her butt to about her knee. Apparently, this is what he did with the majority of the girls,” she said. “She said it made her uncomfortable, but she didn’t know what to do.”
The mother said the touching happened when students were alone with Nichol in his classroom. She added she is pleased that Nichol no longer will teach or be allowed to work or volunteer with children.
Nichol was named 2012 county teacher of the year at a ceremony in which he was lauded for his work with students in maintaining a school garden and helping create a school recycling program.
Under terms of the agreement, Nichol will give up his Florida teaching license for the rest of his life. The agreement states that Nichol “agrees and admits that the Florida Department of Education and its Commissioner can, should, and will find probable cause and/or clear and convincing proof of this allegation.”
Nichol also is prohibited from seeking or getting a teaching license in any other state and from working or volunteering in any position in which he will be with children. Examples cited include day-care centers, camps, private schools and sports and theme parks.
Also, Nichol must complete psycho-sexual counseling and submit to three polygraph examinations.
Nichol was selected by his peers as teacher of the year in February 2012. The first allegation occurred after that.
“Our primary concern is the well-being of the students. As soon as we were made aware of the complaint, Mr. Nichol was removed from the classroom, and we notified law enforcement,” Johnson said. “We kept him out of any school setting where he would have had contact with students until law enforcement resolved its case.”
The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office investigated and filed a sworn complaint against Nichol with the State Attorney’s Office.
The Florida Department of Children and Families also investigated and found “Verified Findings of Sexual Abuse based on the results of interviews and information obtained” for at least one of the allegations.
Spencer Mann, spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office, said the case posed some challenges for prosecution but added that the sanctions against Nichol are significant.
“As in any case, we look at the facts and the evidence. Every case has strengths and weaknesses, and this one was no different,” Mann said. “It had some challenges as far as evidence goes, so we believe we have accomplished some significant sanctions. If he breaks the agreement, we go forward with prosecution.”
Gilbert A. Schaffnit, Nichol’s attorney, agreed that the sanctions are tough but said the agreement enables all parties involved to avoid a difficult, emotional and costly case.
Schaffnit said the agreement keeps Nichol from the possibility of being a convicted felon had the case moved forward.
“It’s a proper resolution. It brings closure to Mr. Nichol and to the families of the students involved. I think it is an appropriate resolution to the case,” Schaffnit said. “The fact that this involved touching rather than a full-blown sexual battery drove the decision to do what was done.”