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Sexual allegations not new to teacher

A Sarasota County teacher who was arrested Tuesday on charges of making sexual advances toward students was forced to resign as a teacher in the Hillsborough schools in 1981 because of similar allegations.

Norman Bailey, an art teacher at Sarasota Middle School, was charged on two counts of soliciting sexual performance by a child after two 16-year-old girls accused him of asking to perform sexual acts, according to an Associated Press report.

Now, school officials in Hillsborough and Sarasota are trying to figure out why Sarasota wasn't notified about Bailey's previous problems in Hillsborough.

And soon, state investigators are expected to look into the matter.

"We're concerned because it seems like there should have been some way for us to be notified about it," said Gerald Padfield, supervisor of personnel for the Sarasota County schools.

Padfield said Bailey's references checked out and that because he was not charged with a crime in Hillsborough County, the routine fingerprint check turned up nothing.

Personnel records and security record in Hillsborough County from 11 years ago show that Bailey was accused by three girls of making sexual advances toward them. He was allowed to resign "for personal reasons" after he agreed not to teach again in the state.

David Binnie, assistant superintendent in charge of personnel, said there was no evidence that police were involved in the matter. Binnie was not involved in the decision in 1981.

"The question is "Why wasn't he reported?' " Binnie said. "The record doesn't say why. If it happened in this day and age, it would have been reported."

Binnie said the law has changed several times since Bailey was allowed to resign. School officials were required to report teacher misbehavior to the Professional Practices Commission if the teacher committed an immoral or lascivious act.

In 1985, the wording of the law was changed so that the superintendent had to report such a matter if he had "reason to believe" a teacher committed an offense that might result in the teacher losing his teaching certificate.

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